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First Edition, 1 903 

Second Edition, 1904 

Third and Cheaper Edition, 1 9 1 2 

All rights reserved 



-* Uf 

1 SHOULD wish to write one word by way of explana- 
tion of the character of the descriptive historical sketch 
which forms the text of the present book. 

Some time ago I undertook to prepare, for " the 
Mediaeval Towns Series " of my Publisher, a work on 
the Story of the Town and University of Cambridge. 
Arrangements were made with Mr. Herbert Railton for 
its pictorial illustration. It had been intended in the first 
instance, that the artist's pen and ink sketches should have 
been reproduced by the ordinary processes used in modern 
book illustration. But the poetic glamour of such a place 
as Cambridge and its genius loci did not allow the enthusiasm 
of the artist to remain satisfied with such drawings only 
as might be readily reproduced by the ordinary processes. 
In addition to many sketches in black and white, suitable 
for reproduction in the body of the text in illustration of 
interesting bits of architectural detail, or of quaint grouping, 
Mr. Railton has also drawn a series of large-sized pencil- 
pictures of the principal College buildings. These drawings 
are so beautiful, so full of delicacy and tenderness and yet 
so firm and effective in their treatment of light and shade, 
and show so much sympathy for the old buildings and all 


their picturesque charm, that the Publisher at once felt 
that they must not be treated as ordinary book illustrations. 
The artist had produced pictures worthy to be classed 
with the best work of Samuel Prout. It became the 
duty of the Publisher to treat them with corresponding 
respect. The method of auto-lithography has accordingly 
been adopted, by which the plates are an absolute repro- 
duction in size and tint of the pencil drawings, and the 
artist's work goes straight to the reader without any 
mechanical intervention. A new feature has been added 
by which the colour stones have been made by Mrs. 
Railton acting in collaboration with her husband. This 
process of reproduction necessarily involved a change in 
the proposed format of the book. It was determined, 
therefore, to issue in the first instance an edition de luxe 
of " The Story of Cambridge," on specially prepared 
paper and in large quarto size. I have readily con- 
sented to such a course, for although I may seem, by the 
more imposing form of a large Library Edition, to be guilty 
of some presumption in placing my Historical Sketch in 
competition with such histories as those of Mr. Mullinger in 
the " Epochs of History Series," or of my friend, Mr. T. D. 
Atkinson, in " Cambridge Described " — the larger books of 
Mr. J. W. Clark on the architectural history of Cam- 
bridge, and of Mr. Mullinger on the general history of 
the University are already classics to which humbler writers 
on Cambridge can only look as to final authorities — I can 

only hope that my readers will recognise that my pre- 



sumption is only apparent, and meanwhile I rest confident 
that even the historical critic will have little care for the 
inadequacy of my prose rendering of " The Story of Cam- 
bridge," absorbed as he must be by his delight in the beauty 
of Mr. Railton's drawings. In any case, I shall be entirely 
satisfied if only my descriptive sketch is found adequate for 
the help of the general reader in appreciating the story 
of which the artist has been able to give so poetic an 

c. w. s. 

The Deanery, Ely, 
Michaelmas, 1903. 



IT is very pleasant to me to learn that within less than 
three months of the issue of the first edition of this 
book a second is demanded. I am well aware that 
for its initial success the book owes much, very 
much, to the exceptional beauty of Mr. Herbert Railton's 
drawings. But I am glad also to know, from the many 
kind expressions of opinion which I have received, that 
there are those, and those who have the best right to 
judge, who think that this historical sketch of Cambridge 
and its Colleges will win for itself a definite place as an 
adequate introduction to the fuller academic histories of 
Mr. Mullinger and of Messrs. Willis and Clark. No one can 
be more conscious of the imperfections and oversights of the 
book than I am, but I can honestly say that I have spared 
no pains to make my sketch, within the limits of my purpose, 
as comprehensive as I could. The condensation of a history, 
covering so many centuries, and involving the consultation of 
so many authorities, monastic records, college annals, dry-as- 
dust monographs, antiquarian and architectural papers, into 
a readable story, which shall be at once continuous, pictur- 
esque, and consistent, can never be an easy task. ' 'EttittoVo)? 

evpto-KeTo.' Obviously for a complete presentation of the many 



and various forces at work, and of the large issues involved for 
both university and nation, a much wider canvas than mine 
would be needed. Apart from the history of the Colleges, it 
has been possible for me to do little more than to disengage 
the leading lines of academic history, and to mark the influences 
and tendencies which seem most to have governed the results 
as we see them in the university life of to-day. If historical 
truth is to be reached, even partially, many trivial details are 
necessary, and such details make dull reading. I trust, how- 
ever, that I have not anywhere been so absorbed in detail 
that my reader will find it difficult to see the wood for the 
trees. And at least where some detail seemed necessary, I am 
not ashamed to confess that I have always tried to keep an 
open eye for picturesque and an open ear for humorous detail. 
I hope also I have shown that I know the value to historical 
study of a wide grasp of general principles and tendencies, 
and yet at the same time am not unaware how dangerous 
a generalised view may become, if it be forgotten that as 
generalisations grow wider, they also too often are apt to 
become obscurer and more useless. I wish that I had had 
more space to give to the great personalities of Cambridge 
academic history. I feel, as all must feel, how much life 
and colour must always be given to any picture of Cambridge 
by the possibility of placing upon its canvas such historic 
figures as Queen Margaret and Bishop Fisher, as Erasmus and 
Matthew Parker, as Bacon and Newton and Bentley, as Oliver 
Cromwell and John Milton, and the long line of Cambridge 
poets and divines. We cannot afford certainly in such a sketch 


to lose sight wantonly of great men and memorable lives. 
The spell of their presence still hovers about the old courts 
and halls, and is the secret perhaps of the eager patriotism 
which Cambridge always provokes in a Cambridge man. 
That some of the poetic glamour of the place and of the 
witchery and charm of its old romance should have found its 
way into my pages I fain would hope. At least I have written 
con amore. If my words have failed in warmth, it certainly has 
not been because my heart is cold. Ever since the October 
night, forty years ago now, when for the first time I walked 
the streets of Cambridge, and saw her buildings dreaming 
in the moonlight, I have been a reverent and impassioned 
lover of my Alma Mater. And to a lover some touch of 
poetry must surely come to the expression of his love. If 
it has been otherwise in this book, I trust my readers may 
be prepared to forgive much to an author who at least has 
loved much. 

For the rest, I conclude with the hope that, in the spirit 
of my book, I have not altogether failed to reach something 
of that simplicity and moderation of judgment which Thomas 
Fuller, whose words I have so often quoted in these pages, 
has rightly declared to be " the silken string running through 
the pearl-chain of all the virtues." 

Easter, 1 904. 








Geographical and commercial importance of the city site — Map of the 
county a palimpsest — Glamour of the Fenland — Cambridge the gate- 
way of East Anglia — The Roman roads— The Roman station — The 
Castle Hill — Stourbridge Fair — Cambridge a chief centre of English 



William I. at Cambridge Castle — Cambridge at the Domesday Survey — 
Roger Picot the Sheriff — Pythagoras School — Castle and Borough — 
S. Benet's Church and its Parish — The King's Ditch — The Great 
and the Small Bridges — The King's and the Bishop's Mills — The 
River Hythes — S. Peter by the Castle and S. Giles Church — -The 
early Streets of the City — The Augustinian Priory of Barnwell — The 
Round Church of the Holy Sepulchre — The Cambridge Jewry — 
Debt of early Scholars to the Philosophers of the Synagogue — 
Benjamin's House — Municipal Freedom of the Borough. 



Monastic Origins — Continuity of Learning in Early England — The School 
of York — The Venerable Bede — Alcuin and the Schools of Charles 
the Great — The Danish Invasions — The Benedictine Revival — The 




Monkish Chroniclers— The Coming of the Friars— The Franciscan 
and Dominican Houses at Cambridge — The Franciscan Scholars — 
Roger Bacon — Bishop Grosseteste— The New Aristotle and the 
Scientific Spirit— The Scholastic Philosophy— Aquinas— Migration 
of Scholars from Paris to Cambridge— The term " University "— 
The Colleges and the Hostels — The Course of Study — Trivium and 
Quadrivium — The Four Faculties — England a Paradise of Clerks — 
Parable of the Monk's Pen. 


HOUSE .....-■ 73 

The Early Monastic Houses in Cambridge — Student Proselytising by the 
Friars— The Oxford College of Merton a Protest against this 
Tendency — The Rule of Merton taken as a Model by Hugh de 
Balsham, Founder of Peterhouse — The Hospital of S. John — The 
Scholars of Ely — Domestic Economy of the College — The Dress of 
the Medieval Student — Peterhouse Buildings — Little S. Mary's 
Church — The Perne Library — The College Chapel. 


The Fourteenth Century an Age of Great Men and Great Events but not 
of Great Scholars — Petrarch and Richard of Bury — Michael House 
—The King's Scholars — King's Hall — Clare Hall — Pembroke 
College — Gonville Hall — Dr. John Caius — His Three Gates of 
Humility, Virtue, and Honour. 


Unique Foundation of Corpus Christi College — The Cambridge Guilds — 
The influence of " the Good Duke " — The Peasant Revolt — 
Destruction of Charters — " Perish the skill of the Clerks ! " — The 
Black Death — Lollardism at the Universities — The Poore Priestes of 






Henry VI. — The most pitiful Character in all English History — His 
devotion to Learning and his Saintly Spirit — His foundation of Eton 
and King's College — The Building of King's College Chapel — Its 
architect, Reginald of Ely, the Cathedral Master-Mason — Its rela- 
tion to the Ely Lady Chapel — Its stained glass Windows — Its close 
Foundation — Queens' College — Margaret of Anjou and Elizabeth 
Wydville — The buildings of Queens' — Similarity to Haddon Hall — 
Its most famous Resident, Erasmus — His Novum Instrumentum edited 
within its Walls. 



The Foundation of Trinity Hall by Bishop Bateman of Norwich — On the 
Site of the Hostel of Student-Monks of Ely — Prior Crauden — 
Evidence of the Ely Obedientary Rolls — The College Buildings — 
The Old Hall — S. Edward's Church used as College Chapel — Hugh 
Latimer's Sermon on a Pack of Cards — Harvey Goodwin — Frederick 
Maurice — The Hall Library — Its ancient Bookcases — The Founda- 
tion of S. Catherine's Hall. 



The New Learning in Italy and Germany — The English " Pilgrim 
Scholars " : Grey, Tiptoft, Linacre, Grocyn — The practical Genius 
of England — Bishops Rotherham, Alcock, and Fisher — Alcock, 
diplomatist, financier, architect — The Founder of Jesus College — He 
takes as his model Jesus College, Rotherham — His Object the 
Training of a Preaching Clergy — The Story of the Nunnery of 
S. Rhadegund — Its Dissolution — Conversion of the Conventual 
Church into a College Chapel — The Monastic Buildings, Gateway, 
Cloister, Chapter House — The Founder a Better Architect than an 
Educational Reformer — The Jesus Roll of eminent Men from 
Cranmer to Coleridge. 

XV c 





The Lady Margaret Foundations — Bishop Fisher of Rochester — The 
Foundation of Christ's — God's House — The buildings of the new- 
College — College Worthies — John Milton — Henry More — Charles 
Darwin — The Hospital of the Brethren of S. John — Death of the 
Lady Margaret — Foundation of S. John's College — Its buildings — 
The Great Gateway — The new Library — The Bridge of Sighs — 
The Wilderness — Wordsworth's " Prelude " — The aims of Bishop 
Fisher — His death. 



Dissolution of the Monasteries — Schemes for Collegiate Spoliation checked 
by Henry VIII. — Monks' or Buckingham College — Refounded by 
Sir Thomas Audley as Magdalene College — Conversion of the old 
buildings — The Pepysian Library — Foundation of Trinity College — 
Michaelhouse and the King's Hall — King Edward's Gate — The 
Queen's Gate — The Great Gate — Dr. Thomas Neville — The Great 
Court — The Hall — Neville's Court — New Court — Dr. Bentley — 
" A House of all Kinds of Good Letters." 



Queen Elizabeth and the Founder of Emmanuel — The Puritan Age — Sir 
Walter Mildmay — The Building of Emmanuel — The Tenure of 
Fellowships — Puritan Worthies — The Founder of Harvard — Lady 
Frances Sidney — The Sidney College Charter — The Buildings — 
The Chapel and the old Franciscan Refectory — Royalists and Puri- 
tans — Oliver Cromwell — Thomas Fuller — A Child's Prayer for his 




Oriel Windows, Queens' College 

The School of Pythagoras 

Peterhouse .... 

Clare College and Bridge 

Pembroke College 

Gate of Honour and Gate of Virtue, Caius College 

The Churches of S. Edward and S. Mary the Great 

from Peas Hill 

Corpus Christi College and S. Benedict's Church 
The Pitt Press, S. Botolph's Church, and Corpus 

Christi College ...... 

The West Doorway, King's College Chapel . 
Gateway to Old Court of King's College . 
The Chapel, Trinity Hall ..... 

Oriel Window, Jesus College ..... 

Gateway in Great Court, S. Catherine's College 
The Chapel, Christ's College .... 

Gateway, S. John's College ..... 

Oriel in Library, S. John's College 

Tower and Turrets of Trinity from S. John's College 

The Library, Chapel, and Hall, Magdalene College 

Gateway and Dial, Trinity College 

Neville's Court, Trinity College . 

Hall and Chapel, Emmanuel College . 

Downing College ..... 

The Garden Front, Sidney Sussex College 



. facing page 28 








II 4 






J 34 

















GE „ 
















Courtyard of the Falcon Inn 
Saxon Tower, S. Benedict's Church 

The Abbey House 

Chapel, Barnwell Priory 

The Round Church .... 

Oriel Windows from House in Petty-Cury 

Clare College and Bridge 

Pembroke College ..... 

Pembroke College, Oriels and Entrance 
Caius College, The Gate of Honour 
King's Parade ...... 

King's College Chapel .... 

King's College Chapel .... 

King's College Quadrangle . 

Cloister Court, Queens' College . 

Oriel Window, Queens' College . 

The Bridge and Gables, Queens' College 

A Bit from Sidney Street 

Divinity Schools and S. John's 

Norman Work in Church of Jesus College 

Norman Work in N. Transept, Jesus College Chapel 

Entrance to Chapter-House, Priory of S. Rhadegund 

The Courtyard of the Wrestlers' Inn 

Entrance to S. John's College 

S. John's College from the Backs 

Bridge of Sighs, S. John's College 

Tower and Gateway, Trinity College 

The Fountain, Trinity College . 























" Next then the plenteous Ouse came far from land, 
By many a city and by many a town, 
And many rivers taking under-hand 
Into his waters as he passeth down, 
The Cle, the Were, the Grant, the Sture, the Bowne, 
Thence doth by Huntingdon and Cambridge flit, 
My Mother Cambridge, whom as with a crowne 
He doth adorne, and is adorn'd by it 
With many a gentle Muse and many a learned wit." 

— Spenser's Faerie Queene, iv. xi. 34. 

Geographical and commercial importance of the city site — Map of the county 
a palimpsest — Glamour of the Fenland — Cambridge the gateway of East 
Anglia — The Roman roads — The Roman station — The Castle Hill — 
Stourbridge Fair — Cambridge a chief centre of English commerce. 

ONE could wish perhaps that the story of Cambridge 
j should begin, as so many good stories of men 
and cities have begun, in the antique realm of 
poetry and romance. That it did so begin our 
forefathers indeed had little doubt. John Lydgate, the poet, 

a Benedictine monk of Bury, "the disciple" — as he is proud 

1 A 


to call himself — " of Geoffrey Chaucer," but best remembered 
perhaps by later times as the writer of " London Lackpenny " 
and " Troy Book," has left certain verses on the foundation 
of the Town and University of Cambridge, which are still 
preserved to us. 1 Some stanzas of that fourteenth-century 
poem will serve to show in what a cloudland of empty 
legend it was at one time thought that the story of the 
beginnings of Cambridge might be found : — 

" By trew recorde of the Doctor Bcde 
That some tyme wrotte so mikle with his hande, 
And specially remembringe as I reede 
In his chronicles made of England 
Amounge other thynges as ye shall understand, 
Whom for myne aucthour I dare alleage, 
Seith the translacion and buylding of Cambridge. 

" Touching the date, as I rehearse can 
Fro thillce tyme that the world began 
Four thowsand complete by accomptes clere 
And three hundred by computacion 
Joyned thereto eight and fortie yeare, 
When Cantebro gave the foundacion 
Of thys citie and this famous towne 
And of this noble universitie 
Sette on this river which is called Cante. 

" This Cantebro, as it well knoweth 
At Athenes scholed in his yougt, 
All his wyttes greatlye did applie 
To have acquaintance by great affection 
With folke-experte in philosophic. 

1 Cf. Baker MS. in the University Library. 


From Athens he brought with hym downe 

Philosophers most sovereigne of renowne 

Unto Cambridge, playnlye this is the case, 

Anaxamander and Anaxagoras 

With many other myne Aucthors dothe fare, 

To Cambridge fast can hym spede 

With philosophers and let for no cost spare 

In the Schooles to studdie and to reede ; 

Of whose teachinges great profit that gan spreade 

And great increase rose of his doctrine ; 

Thus of Cambridge the name gan first shyne 

As chief schoole and universitie 

Unto this tyme fro the daye it began 

By cleare reporte in manye a far countre 

Unto the reign of Cassibellan. 

"And as it is put eke in memorie, 

Howe Julius Cesar entring this region 

On Cassybellan after his victorye 

Tooke with hym clarkes of famous renowne 

Fro Cambridg and ledd theim to Rome towne, 

Thus by processe remembred here to forne 

Cambridg was founded long or Chryst was borne." 

But it is not only in verse -that this fabric of fable is to 
be found. Down even to the middle of the last century the 
ears of Cambridge graduates were still beguiled by strange 
stories of the early renown of their University — how it was 
founded by a Spanish Prince, Cantaber (the " Cantebro " of 
Lydgate's verses), "in the 4321st year of the creation of the 
world," and in the sixth year of Gurgant, King of Britain ; 
how Athenian astronomers and philosophers, " because of the 
pleasantness of the place," came to Cambridge as its earliest 
professors, " the king having appointed them stipends " ; 



how King Arthur, " on the 7th of April, in the year of the 
Incarnacion of our Lord, 531," granted a charter of academic 
privileges " to Kenet, the first Rector of the schools " ; and 
how the University subsequently found another royal patron 
in the East Anglian King Sigebert, and had among its earliest 
Doctors of Divinity the great Saxon scholars Bede and 

I have before me as I write a small octavo volume, a 
guide-book to Cambridge and its Colleges, much worn and 
thumbed, probably by its eighteenth-century owner, possibly 
by his nineteenth-century successor, in which all these fables 
and legends are set out in order. The book has lost its title- 
page, but it is easily identifiable as an English translation 
of Richard Parker's Skeletos Cantabrigietisis, written about 
1622, but not apparently published until a century later, 
when the antiquary, Thomas Hearne, printed it in his 
edition of Leland's Collectanea. My English edition of the 
Skeletos is presumably either that which was "printed for 
Thomas Warner at the Black Boy, Pater Noster Row," 
and without a date, or that published by "J. Bateman at the 
Hat and Star in S. Paul's Churchyard," and dated 1721. As 
an illustration of the kind of record which passed for history 
even in the last century, — for the early editions of Hallam's 
"History of the Middle Ages" bear evidence that that 
careful historian still gave some credence to these Cambridge 
fables, — it may be interesting to quote one or two passages 
from the legendary history of Nicholas Cantelupe, which is 
prefixed to this English version of Parker's book : — 



" Anaximander, one of the disciples of Thales, came to this city 
on account of his Philosophy and great Skill in Astrology, where he 
left much Improvement in Learning to Posterity. After his Ex- 
ample, Anaxagoras, quitting his Possessions, after a long Peregrina- 
tion, came to Cambridge, where he writ Books, and instructed the 
unlearned, for which reason that City was by the People of the 
Country call'd the City of Scholars. 

" King Cassibelan, when he had taken upon him the Government 
of the Kingdom, bestowed such Preheminence on this City, that any 
Fugitive or Criminal, desirous to acquire Learning, flying to it, was 
defended in the sight of His Enemy, with Pardon, and without 
Molestation, Upbraiding or Affront ofFer'd him. For which Reason, 
as also on account of the Richness of the Soil, the Serenity of the 
Air, the great Source of Learning, and the King's Favour, young 
and old, from many Parts of the Earth, resorted thither, some of 
whom Julius C^sar, having vanquished Cassibelan, carry'd away to 
Rome, where they afterwards flourished. " 

There then follows a letter, given without any doubt of 
authenticity, from Alcuin of York, purporting to be written 
to the scholars of Cambridge from the Court of Charles the 
Great : — 

"To the discreet Heirs of Christ, the Scholars of the 
unspotted Mother Cambridge, Mlquinus, by Life a Sinner, 
Greeting and Glory in the Virtues of Learning. Forasmuch 
as Ignorance is the Mother of Error, I earnestly intreat 
that Youths among you be us'd to be present at the Praises 
of the Supreme King, not to unearth Foxes, not to hunt 
Hares, let them now learn the Holy Scriptures, having 
obtain'd Knowledge of the Science of Truth, to the end that 



in their perfect Age they may teach others. Call to mind, I 
beseech you dearly beloved the most noble Master of our 
Time, Bcde the Priest, Doctor of your University, under 
whom by permission of the Divine Grace, I took the 
Doctor's Degree in the Year from the Incarnation of our 
Lord 692, what an Inclination he had to study in His 
Youth, what Praise he has now among Men, and much 
more what Glory of Reward with God. Farewell always 
in Christ y^'su, by whose Grace you are assisted in Learning. 

We may omit the mythical charter of King Arthur 
and come to the passage concerning King Alfred, obviously 
intended to turn the flank of the Oxford patriots, who too 
circumstantially relate how their University was founded by 
that great scholar king. 

" In process of time, when Alfred, or Aired, supported 
by divine Comfort, after many Tribulations, had obtained the 
Monarchy of all England, he translated to Oxford the 
scholars, which Penda, King of the Mercians, had with 
the leave of King Ceadwald carried from Cambridge to 
Kirneflad (rather Cricklade, as above), to which scholars 
he was wont to distribute Alms in three several Places. 
He much honour'd the Cantabrigians and Oxonians, and 
granted them many Privileges. 

" Afterwards he erected and established Grammar Schools 

throughout the whole Island, and caus'd the Youth to be 



instructed in their Mother Tongue. Then perceiving that 
the Scholars, whom he had conveyed to Oxford, con- 
tinually applied themselves to the Study of the Laws and 
expounded the Holy Scriptures : he appointed Grimwald 
their Rector, who had been Rector and Chancellor of the 
City of Cambridge." 

The severer canons of modern historical criticism have 
naturally made short work of all these absurd fables ; nor 
do they even allow us to accept as authentic the otherwise 
not unpleasing story quoted from the Chronicle, or rather 
historical novel, of Ingulph, in the quaint pages of Thomas 
Fuller, written a generation later than Richard Parker's 
book, which tells how, early in the twelfth century, certain 
monks were sent to Cambridge by Joffrey, Abbot of Crow- 
land, to expound in a certain public barn (by later writers 
fondly thought to be that which is now known by the name 
of Pythagoras' School) the pages of Priscian, Quintillian, and 

There is little doubt, I fear, that we may find the 
inciting motive of all this exuberant fancy and invention in 
the desire to glorify the one University at the expense of 
the other, which is palpably present in that last quotation 
from Parker's book, and which is perhaps not altogether 
absent from the writings and the conversation of some 
academic patriots or our own day. We may, however, more 
wisely dismiss all these foolish legends and myths as to 
origins in the kindlier spirit of quaint old Fuller in 



the Introduction to his " History of the University of 
Cambridge " : — 

" Sure I am," he says, " there needeth no such pains to 
be took, or provision to be made, about the pre-eminence 
of our English Universities, to regulate their places, they 
having better learned humility from the precept of the 
Apostle, In honour preferring one another. Wherefore I 
presume my aunt Oxford will not be justly offended if in 
this book I give my own mother the upper hand, and first 
begin with her history. Thus desiring God to pour his 
blessing upon both, that neither may want milk for their 
children, or children for their milk, we proceed to the 

Descending then from the misty cloudland of Fable to 
the hard ground of historic Fact, we are shortly met by a 
question which, I hope, Fuller would have recognised as 
businesslike. How did it come about that our forefathers 
founded a University on the site which we now call Cam- 
bridge — " that distant marsh town," as a modern Oxford 
historian somewhat contemptuously calls it ? The ques- 
tion is a natural one, and has not seldom been asked. We 
shall find, I think, the most reasonable answer to it by 
asking a prior question. How did the town of Cambridge 
itself come to be a place of any importance in the early 
days ? The answer is, in the first place, geographical ; 
in the second, commercial. We may fitly occupy the 


remaining space of this chapter in seeking to formulate 
that answer. 

And first, as to the physical features of the district which 
has Cambridge for its most important centre. " The map 
of England," it has been strikingly said by Professor Mait- 
land, " is the most wonderful of all palimpsests." Certainly 
that portion of the map of England which depicts the 
country surrounding the Fenlands of East Anglia is not the 
least interesting part of that palimpsest. Let us take such 
a map and try roughly to decipher it. 1 

If we begin with the seaboard line we shall perhaps at 
first sight be inclined to think that it cannot have changed 
much in the course of the centuries. And most probably 
the coast-line of Lincolnshire, from a point northwards near 
Great Grimsby or Cleethorpes at the mouth of the Humber 
to a point southwards near Waynefleet at the mouth of the 
Steeping River, twenty miles or less north of Boston, and 
again the coast-line of Norfolk and Suffolk from Hunstanton 
Point at the north-east corner of the Wash round past 
Brancaster and Wells and Cromer to Yarmouth and then 
southwards past Southwold and Aldborough to Harwich at 
the mouth of the Orwell and Stour estuary, has not altered 
much in ten or even twenty centuries. But that can hardly 
be said with regard to the coast-line of the Wash itself. 
For on its western side our palimpsest warns us that there is a 

1 See the very excellent map given in " Fenland Past and Present," by S. H. 
Miller and Sidney Skertchley (published, Longmans, 1878), a book full of informa- 
tion on the natural features of the Fen country, its geology, its antiquarian relics, its 
flora and fauna. 

9 B 


considerable district called Holland; that on its south side, 
a dozen miles or more from the present coast-line, is a town 
called Wisbech (or Ouse-beach) ; that still farther inland, 
within a mile or two of Cambridge itself, are to be found 
the villages of Waterbeach and Landbeach ; that half-way 
between Huntingdon and Peterborough there is a place 
called Sawtrey (or Saltreche, the Salt-reach) ; and that scat- 
tered throughout the whole district of the low-lying lands 
are villages and towns whose place-names have the termina- 
tion " ey " or " ea," meaning " island " — such as Thorney, 
Spinny, Ramsey, Whittlesea, Horningsea ; and that one 
considerable tract of slightly higher ground, though now 
undoubtedly surrounded by dry land, is still called the Isle 
of Ely. These place-names are significant, and tell their 
own story. And that story, as we try to interpret it, will 
gradually lead us to the conclusion that the ancient seaboard 
line of the Wash, instead of being marked on the map of 
England as we have it now, by a line roughly joining Boston 
and King's Lynn, would on the earliest text of the palimpsest 
require an extended sea boundary on which Lincoln, and 
Stamford and Peterborough, and Huntingdon and Cambridge, 
and Brandon and Downham Market would become almost 
seaboard towns, and Ely an island fifteen miles or so off the 
coast at Cambridge. 

Such a conclusion, of course, would be somewhat of an 
exaggeration, for the wide waste of waters which thus formed 
an extension of the Wash southwards was not all or always 

sea water. So utterly transformed, however, has the whole 



Fen country become in modern times — the vast plain of the 
Bedford level contains some 2000 square miles of the richest 
corn-land in England — that it is very difficult to restore in 
the imagination the original scenery of the days before the 
drainage, when the rivers which take the rainfall of the 
central counties of England — the Nene, the Welland, the 
Witham, the Glen, and the Bedfordshire Ouse — spread out 
into one vast delta or wilderness of shallow waters. 

The poetic glamour of the land, now on the side of its 
fertility and strange beauty, now on the side of its monotony 
and weird loneliness, has always had a strange fascination for 
the chroniclers and writers of every age. In the first Book 
of the Liber Eliaisis (ii. 105), written by Thomas, a monk of 
Ely, in the twelfth century, there is a description of the fen- 
lands, given by a soldier to William the Conqueror, which 
reads like the report of the land of plenty and promise 
brought by the spies to Joshua. In the Historia Major of 
Matthew Paris, however, it is described as a place " neither 
accessible for man or beast, affording only deep mud, with 
sedge and reeds, and possest of birds, yea, much more by 
devils, as appeareth in the Life of S. Guthlac, who, find- 
ing it a place of horror and great solitude, began to inhabit 
there." At a later time Drayton in his Polyolbiou gives a pic- 
ture of the Fenland life as one of manifold industry : — 

" The toiling fisher here is towing of his net ; 
The fowler is employed his limed twigs to set ; 
One underneath his horse to get a shoot doth stalk ; 
Another over dykes upon his stilts doth walk : 
I I 


There other with their spades the peats are squaring out, 
And others from their cars are busily about 
To draw out sedge and reed to thatch and stover fit : 
That whosoever would a landskip rightly hit, 
Beholding but my Fens shall with more shapes be stored 
Than Germany or France or Thuscan can afford. " 

This eulogy of the Fenland, however, Drayton is careful to 
put into the mouth of a Fenland nymph, who is not allowed 
to pass without criticism by her sister who rules the up- 
lands : — 

" O how I hate 
Thus of her foggy fens to hear rude Holland prate 
That with her fish and fowl here keepeth such a coil, 
As her unwholesome air, and more unwholesome soil, 
For these of which she boasts the more might suffered be." 

But probably the most picturesque and truthful imagina- 
tive sketch of the old fenlands is that which was given in 
our own time by the graphic pen of Charles Kingsley in his 
fine novel of " Hereward the Wake," somewhat amplified 
afterwards in the chapters of "The Hermits," which he 
devoted to the history of St. Guthlac : — 

" The fens in the seventh century," he says, " were probably very 
like the forests at the mouth of the Mississippi or the swampy shores 
of the Carolinas. Their vast plain is now in summer one sea of 
golden corn ; in winter, a black dreary fallow, cut into squares by 
stagnant dykes, and broken only by unsightly pumping mills and 
doleful lines of poplar trees. Of old it was a labyrinth of black 
wandering streams, broad lagoons, morasses submerged every spring- 
tide, vast beds of reed and sedge and fern, vast copses of willow and 
alder and grev poplar, rooted in the floating peat, which was swallow- 



ing up slowly, all devouring, yet preserving the forests of fir and oak, 
ash and poplar, hazel and yew, which had once grown on that low, 
rank soil, sinking slowly (so geologists assure us) beneath the sea 
from age to age. Trees torn down by flood and storm floated and 
lodged in rafts, damming the waters back on the land. Streams 
bewildered in the flats, changed their channels, mingling silt and 
sand with the peat moss. Nature left to herself ran into wild riot 
and chaos more and more, till the whole fen became one 'dismal 
swamp,' in which at the time of the Norman Conquest, ' the last of 
the English,' like Dred in Mrs. Stowe's tale, took refuge from their 
tyrants and lived like him a free and joyous life awhile." 

Such was one aspect, then, in the early days of English 
history, of the great plain that stretches from Cambridge 
to the sea. But our map-palimpsest has further physical 
facts to reveal which had an important influence on the 
civic and economic development of Cambridge. To the 
south-east of this great plain of low-lying fenlands rises the 
upland country of boulder clay, stretching in a line almost 
directly west and east from the downs at Royston, thirteen 
miles below Cambridge, to Sudbury-on-the-Stour. The 
whole of this ridge of high ground, which roughly cor- 
responds with the present boundaries between Cambridge- 
shire and Suffolk and Essex, was in the early days covered 
with dense forest. Thus the Forest and the Fen between 
them formed a material barrier separating the kingdom of 
East Anglia from the rest of Britain. At one point only 
could an entrance be gained. Between the forest and the 
fen there runs a long belt of land, at its narrowest point not 
more than five miles wide, consisting partly of open pasture, 



partly of chalk down. In the neck, so to say, of this natural 
pass into East Anglia lies the town of Cambridge. A careful 
scrutiny of our map will show, on the under-text of our 
palimpsest, a remarkable series of British earthworks, all 
crossing in parallel lines this narrow belt of open land 
between the fen and the forest, marked on the map as 
Black Ditches, Devil's Dyke, the Fleam or Balsham Dyke, 
the Brent or Pampisford Ditch, and the Brand or Heydon 
Way. Of these the longest and most important is the well- 
known Devil's Dyke, near Newmarket. It is some eight 
miles long in all, and consists of a lofty bank twelve feet 
wide at the top, eighteen feet above the level of the country, 
and thirty feet above the bottom of the ditch, which is 
itself some twenty feet wide. The ditch is on the western 
side of the bank, thus showing that it was used as a defence 
by the people on the east against those on the west. It was 
near this ditch that the defeat of the ancient British tribe of 
the Iceni by the Romans, as described by Tacitus (" Annals," 
xii. 31), took place in a.d. 50. : 

At Cambridge itself the ancient earthwork known as 
Castle Hill may belong to this British period, and have 
formed a valuable auxiliary to the line of dykes in defending 
the ford of the river and the pass behind ; but upon this 
point authorities are divided. 2 Indeed, there is good ground 
for the opinion that the Castle Hill is a construction of the 

1 Cf. paper by Professor Ridgway, Proc. Cam. Antiq. Soc, vii. 200. 

2 Cf. Professor M'Kenny Hughes, Proc. Cam. Antiq. Soc, vol. viii. (1893), 173. 
Cf. also Freeman, "Norman Conquest," vol. i. 323, &c. ; and also English Chronicle, 
under year MX. 



later Saxon period, and may, in fact, be referred to the time 
of the Danish incursions in the ninth century, during which 
time Cambridge is known to have been sacked more than 

However that may be, there is ample proof that the site 
of the Castle at any rate was occupied by tbe Romans, for 
the remains of a fosse and vallum, forming part of an oblong 
enclosure within which the Castle Hill, whether early 
British or later Saxon, is included, seem to indicate the 
position of a Roman station here. Moreover, to this place 
converge the two great Roman roads, of which the remains 
may still be traced : Akeman Street, leading from Cirencester 
(Corinium) in the south through Hertfordshire to Cam- 
bridge, and thence across the fen (by the Aldreth Causeway, 
the scene of William the Conqueror's two years' campaign 
with Hereward) to Ely, and so onwards to Brancaster in 
Norfolk ; and the Via Devana, which, starting from Col- 
chester (Colonia or Camelodunum), skirted the forest lands 
of Essex through Cambridge and Huntingdon (Durolifons) 
northwards to Chester (Deva). Whether the Roman station, 
however, at the junction of these two roads can be identified 
as the ancient Camboritum is still a little doubtful. Cer- 
tainly the common identification of Cambridge with Cam- 
boritum, because of the resemblance between the two names, 
cannot be justified. That resemblance is a mere coincidence. 
The name Cambridge, in fact, is comparatively modern, being 
corrupted, by regular gradations, from the original Anglo- 
Saxon form which had the sense of Granta-bridge. The 



name of the town is thus not, as is generally supposed, 
derived from the name of the river (Cam being modern and 
artificial), but, conversely, the name of the river has, in the 
course of centuries, been evolved out of the name of the 
town. 1 

To return, however, to the Castle Hill. It may be 
doubtful, as we have said, whether the Roman station there 
was Camboritum or not, but there can be no doubt that the 
station, whatever it may have been called by the Romans, 
must have been a fairly important one, not only as com- 
manding the open pass-way between the forest and the fen 
leading into East Anglia, but also as standing at the head 
of a waterway leading to the sea. It is difficult, of course, 

1 The easiest way for those who are not much acquainted with phonetic laws to 
understand this rather difficult point is to observe the chronology of this place-name. It 
is thus condensed by Mr. T. D. Atkinson ("Cambridge Described and Illustrated," 
p. 4) from Professor Skeat's "Place-Names of Cambridgeshire," 29-30: — "The name 
of the town was Grantebrycge in a.d. 875, and in Doomsday Book it is Grentebrige. 
About 1142 we first meet with the violent change Cantebrieggescir (tor the county), the 
change from Gr to C being due to the Normans. This form lasted, with slight changes, 
down to the fifteenth century. Grauntbrigge (also spelt Cauntbrigge in the name of the 
same person) survived as a surname till 1401. After 1142 the form Cantebrigge is 
common ; it occurs in Chaucer as a word of four syllables, and was Latinised as 
Cantabrigia in the thirteenth century. Then the former e dropped out ; and we come to 
such forms as Cantbrigge and Cauntbrigge (fourteenth century) ; then Canbrigge (1436) 
and Caivnbrege (1461) with n. Then the b turned the n into m, giving Cambrigge 
(after 1400) and Caumbrege (1458). The long a, formerly aa in baa, but now ei in 
vein, was never shortened. The old name of the river, Granta, still survives. Cant 
occurs in 1372, and le Ee and le Ree in the fifteenth century. In the sixteenth century 
the river is spoken of as the Canta, now called the Rhee ; and later we find 
both Granta and the Latinised form of Camus. Cam, which appears in Speed's map 
of 1610, was suggested by the written form Cam-bridge, and is a product of the six- 
teenth century, having no connection with the Welsh Cam, or the British Cambos, 



to estimate the extent of the commerce in these early days, 
or even perhaps to name the staple article of export that 
must have found its way by means of the fenland rivers to 
the Continent, but that it must have been at times consider- 
able we may at least conjecture from the fact that in the 
records of the sacking of the Fenland abbeys — Ely, Peter- 
borough, Ramsey, and Crowland — by the Danes in the 
seventh century there is evidence of a great store of wealth, 
costly embroideries, rich jewels, gold and silver, which can 
hardly have been the product of native industry alone, but 
seem to indicate a fair import trade from the Continent. 

The geographical position, in fact, of Cambridge at the 
head of a waterway directly communicating with the sea is 
a factor in the history of the town the importance of which 
cannot be exaggerated. In direct communication with the 
Continent by means of the river, and on the only, or almost 
the only, line of traffic between East Anglia and the rest of 
England, it naturally became the chief distributing centre of 
the commerce and trade of eastern England, and the seat 
of a Fair which in a later age boasted itself the largest 
in Europe. 

In his " History of the University," Thomas Fuller gives 
an account of the origin of this Fair, which is perhaps more 
picturesque than accurate : — 

"About this time," he says — that is, about a.d. 1103, in the 
reign of the first Henry — " Barnwell, 1 that is, Children's Well, a 

1 " The old spelling is Bernewell, in the time of Henry III. and later. Some- 
what earlier is Beornewelle, in a late copy of a charter dated 1060 (Thorpe, 

17 C 


village within the precincts of Cambridge, got both the name 
thereof and a Fair therein on this occasion. Many little children 
on Midsummer (or St. John Baptist's) Eve met there in mirth to 
play and sport together ; their company caused the confluence of 
more and bigger boys to the place : then bigger than they : even 
their parents themselves came thither to be delighted with the 
activity of their children. Meat and drink must be had for their 
refection, which brought some victualling booths to be set up. 
Pedlers with toys and trifles cannot be supposed long absent, whose 
packs in short time swelled into tradesmen's stalls of all com- 
modities. Now it is become a great fair, and (as I may term it) 
one of the townsmen's commencements, wherein they take their 
degrees of wealth, fraught with all store of wares and nothing 
(except buyers) wanting therein." 

This description of Fuller is obviously a rough translation 
of a passage from the Liber Memorandorum Ecc/esia de Berne- 
we//e, commonly called the " Barnewell Cartulary," given 
at page xii of Mr. J. W. Clark's " Customs of Augustinian 
Canons," and dated about 1296. 

It is possible, of course, that the celebrated Stourbridge 
Fair, which in later centuries was held every autumn in the 
river Meadow, a mile or so below the town, adjoining Barn- 
well Priory, did date back to these early times, but its two 
earliest charters undoubtedly belong to the thirteenth cen- 
tury, one belonging to the reign of King John, granting 

Diplom., p. 383). So also in the Ramsey Cartulary. The prefix has nothing to 
do with the Anglo-Saxon beam, 'a child,' as has often, I believe, been suggested ; but 
represents Beornan, gen. of Beorna, a pet name for a name beginning with Beorn-. 
. . . The difference between the words, which are quite distinct, is admirably illus- 
trated in the New Eng. Diet, under the words lerne and bairn.'" — Skeat's Place- 
Names of Cambridgeshire, p. 35. 



the tolls of the Fair to the Friars of the Leper Chapel 
of St. Mary Magdalene, the other to Henry III.'s time, 
fixing the date of the Fair for the four days commencing 
October 17, being the Festival of St. Etheldreda, Virgin, 
Queen and Abbess of Ely. From this time onward at 
any rate the annual occurrence of this Fair furnishes in- 
cidents, not always commendable, in the annals of both 
town and University. It is said with probability that John 
Bunyan, who in his Bedfordshire youth may well have been 
drawn to its attractions, made the Fair at Stourbridge Common 
the prototype of his " Vanity Fair." And certainly any one 
who will take the trouble to compare the description of the 
Fair given by the Cambridgeshire historian Carter with the 
well-known passage in the " Pilgrim's Progress," cannot but 
feel that the details of Bunyan's picture are touches painted 
from life : — 

" Then I saw in my dream, that when they were got out of the 
Wilderness, they presently saw a Town before them, and the name of 
that Town is Vanity ; and at the Town there is a Fair kept, called 
Vanity Fair . . . therefore at this Fair are all such Merchandise 
sold, as Houses, Lands, Trades, Places, Honours, Preferments, 
Titles, Countries, Kingdoms, Lusts, Pleasures, and Delights of all 
sorts, as Whores, Bawds, Wives, Husbands, Children, Masters, 
Servants, Lives, Blood, Bodies, Souls, Silver, Gold, Pearls, Precious 
Stones, and what not. 

" And moreover at this Fair there is at all times to be seen 
Jugglings, Cheats, Games, Plays, Fools, Apes, Knaves, and 
Rogues, and that of all sorts. 

" And as in other Fairs of less moment, there are the several 
Rows and Streets under their proper names, where such and such 

J 9 


wares are vended ; so here likewise you have the proper places, Rows, 
Streets . . . where the wares of this Fair are soonest to be found. 
Here is the Britain Row, the French Row, the Italian Row, the 
German Row, where several sorts of vanities are to be sold." 

The historian, it is true, speaks of " the Sturbridge Fair as 
like to a well-governed city, with less disorder and confusion 
than in any other place where there is so great a concourse of 
people," yet when one reads in Bunyan's " Progress " of the 
Peremptory Court of Trial, " under the Great One of the 
Fair," ever ready to take immediate cognisance of any 
" hubbub," one cannot but remember that the judicial rights 
of the University in the regulation of the ale-tents and show- 
booths on Midsummer Common were at least a fertile theme 
for satire with the licensed wits of both Universities, whether 
of " Mr. Tripos " at Cambridge, or of the " Terra? Filius " at 
Oxford, and wonder what amount of truth there may have 
been in the rude statement of the latter that " the Cambridge 
proctors at Fair time were so strict in forbidding under- 
graduates to enter public-houses in the town because it 
would spoil their own trade in the Fair." 

But as Fuller would say, " Enough hereof. It tends to 

slanting and suppositive traducing of the records." Let us 

proceed with our history. And that we may do so let us 

end this introductory chapter of Fable and Fact by enforcing 

the point, of which the incident of Stourbridge Fair was but 

an illustration, that Cambridge became the seat of an English 

University, because it had already become a chief centre of 

English trade and commerce, and had so become because in 



the early centuries it had stood as guardian of the only pass- 
way which crossed the frontier line of the kingdoms of 
Mercia and the West Saxons and the kingdom of the East 
Anglians, and at a later time had been the busy porter of the 
river gate, by which the merchandise of northern Europe* 
borne to the Norfolk Wash and the Port of Lynn by the 
ships of Flanders and the Hanse towns of the Baltic, found 
its way, by the sluggish waters of the Cam and the Ouse, 
to a place which was thus well fitted to become the great 
distributing centre of trade for southern England and the 
Midlands. Stourbridge Fair is a thing of the past. Cam- 
bridge as a distributing centre for the trade of northern 
Europe has ceased to be. The long line of river barges 
no longer float down the stream. The waters of the Wash 
are silting up. The fame of the town has been eclipsed 
by the fame of the University. But town and University 
alike may still gaze with emotion at the old timbered 
wharfs and clay hithes of the river, the green earthwork 
of the Castle Hill, the far-stretching roads once known 
as Akeman Street and the Icknield Way, the grass-grown 
slopes of the Devil's Dyke, as the symbols of mighty forces 
which in their day brought men from all parts of Europe to 
this place, and have been potent to make it through many 
centuries a centre of light and learning to England and the 




"At this time the fountain of learning in Cambridge was but little, and that 
very troubled. . . . Mars then frighted away the Muses, when the Mount of 
Parnassus was turned into a fort, and Helicon derived into a trench. And at 
this present, King William the Conqueror, going to subdue the monks of Ely 
that resisted him, made Cambridgeshire the seat of war." — Fuller. 

William I. at Cambridge Castle — Cambridge at the Domesday Survey — 
Roger Picot the Sheriff — Pythagoras School — Castle and Borough — 
S. Benet's Church and its Parish — The King's Ditch — The Great and 
the Small Bridges — The King's and the Bishop's Mills — The River 
Hithes — S. Peter by the Castle and S. Giles' Church — The early Streets 
of the City — The Augustinian Priory of Barnwell — The Round Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre — The Cambridge Jewry — Debt of early Scholars 
to the Philosophers of the Synagogue — Benjamin's House — Municipal 
Freedom of the Borough. 

N the site of the ancient Roman station of which 
we have spoken in the preceding chapter, as 


\ M guarding the river ford and the pass between 

forest and fen into East Anglia, William the 

Conqueror, returning from the conquest of York in the year 

1068, founded Cambridge Castle, that "it might be" — to 

quote Fuller's words — "a check-bit to curb this country, 

which otherwise was so hard-mouthed to be ruled." Here, 

in the following year, he took up his abode, making the castle 

the centre of his operations against the rebel English who had 



rallied to the leadership of Hereward the Wake, in his camp 
of refuge at Ely. But the castle at Cambridge never became 
a military centre of importance. No important deed of arms 
is recorded in connection with it. It was a mere outpost, 
useful only as a base of operations. It was so used by 
William the Conqueror. It was so used by Henry III. in 
his futile contest with the English baronage. It was so 
used by the Duke of Northumberland in his unsuccessful 
attempt to crush the loyalist rising of East Anglia against 
his plot to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne. It was so 
used by Oliver Cromwell when he was organising the Eastern 
Counties Association, and forming " his lovely company " 
of Ironsides. But beyond these episodes Cambridge Castle 
has no history. In the early part of the fourteenth century 
it was used as a prison for common criminals. Edward III. 
built his College of King's Hall with some of its materials, 
and from that time onwards it appears to have been used 
as a quarry by the royal founders of more than one college. 
Its last remaining outwork, the Gate House, was demolished 
in 1842. Now there is nothing left but the grass-grown 
mound, still known as Castle Hill, the resort of occasional 
American tourists who are wise enough to know how fine 
a view of the town may be obtained from that position, 
and, so it is said, a less frequent place of pilgrimage also 
to certain university freshmen who are foolish enough to 
accept the assurance of their fellows that " at the witching 
hour of night " they may best observe from Castle Hill 
those solemn portents which, on the doubtful authority of 



the University Calendar, are said to happen when " the 
Cambridge term divides at midnight." 

But if the Castle at Cambridge, as a " place of arms," had 
practically no history, much less had the town over which 
nominally it stood guard. The old streets of Cambridge 
show no sign of ever having been packed closely within 
walls in the usual mediaeval fashion. In the early days the 
town seems to have been limited to a little knot of houses 
round the Castle and along the street leading down to 
the river ford at the foot of the Castle Hill. From the 
Domesday Survey we learn that in the time of Edward the 
Confessor the town had consisted of 400 dwelling-houses, 
and was divided into ten wards, each governed by its own 
lawman (" lageman ") or magistrate, a name which appears 
to suggest that the original organisation of the town was 
of Danish origin. By the year 1086 two of these wards had 
been thrown into one, owing to the destruction of twenty- 
seven houses — " pro castro " — on account of the building of 
the Castle, and in the remaining wards no fewer than fifty- 
three other dwellings are entered as " waste." Altogether, 
in Norman times the population of Cambridge can hardly 
have exceeded at the most a couple of thousand. The 
customs of the town were assessed at jTy, the land tax 
at £y, 2s. 2d. Both of these seem to have been new 
impositions, payable to the royal treasury. How this came 
about one cannot say, but from this time onward, all through 
the middle ages, the farm of Cambridge appears frequently 
to have been given as a dower to the Queen. The earldom 


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of Cambridge and Huntingdon has been almost invariably 
held by a member of the Royal Family. The first steps, 
indeed, towards municipal independence on the part of the 
borough were taken when the burgesses demanded the 
privilege of making their customary payments direct to the 
King, and ridding themselves of this part, at any rate, of 
the authority of the sheriff. Certainly, there was much 
complaint made to the Domesday Commissioners concern- 
ing the first Norman sheriff of Cambridgeshire, one Roger 
Picot, because of his hard treatment of the burgesses. 
Among other things, it was said that he had " required the 
loan of their ploughs nine times in the year, whereas in the 
reign of the Confessor they lent their ploughs only thrice in 
the year and found neither cattle nor carts," and also that he 
had built himself three mills upon the river to the destruc- 
tion of many dwelling-houses and the confiscation of much 
common pasture. Reading of these things one is almost 
tempted to wonder, whether the old stone Norman house 
still standing, styled, by a tradition now lost, " the School 
of Pythagoras," in close proximity as it is to the river, the 
ford, and the castle, may not have been the residence of 
this sheriff or of one of his immediate successors. The house 
cannot, certainly, be of a later date than the latter part of 
the twelfth century. Originally, it appears to have consisted 
of a single range of building of two storeys, the lower one 
formerly vaulted, the upper one serving as a hall. How 
it came by its present name of " Pythagoras School " we do 

not know, and certainly there is no reason to suppose that 



it was at any time a school. The Norman occupier, however, 
of this stone house, with his servants and retainers, could 
hardly have been other than a leading personage in the 
community, and must have contributed in no slight degree 
to its importance. Possibly it may have been owing to the 
destruction of houses caused by the clearing of the sites for 
both this mansion and for the Castle, that the dispossessed 
population sought habitation for themselves on the low- 
lying ground across the ford, on the east bank of the river. 
Whether this was the cause or not, certainly the town 
on the west bank — " the borough," as the castle end of 
Cambridge was still called in the memory of persons still 
living 1 — overflowed at an early period to the other side of 
the river, and gradually extending itself along the line of 
the Via Devana, eventually coalesced with what had before 
been a distinct village clustering round the ancient pre- 
Norman church of S. Benedict. This church, or rather its 
tower, is the oldest building in Cambridge and one of the 
most interesting. It is thus described by Mr. Atkinson. 2 

"The tower presents those features which are usually taken to 
indicate a Saxon origin. It is divided into three well-marked stages, 
each one of which is rather narrower than the one below it. The 
quoins are of the well-known long-and-short work (a sign of late 
date), and the lowest quoin is let into a sinking prepared for it in the 
plinth. The belfry windows are of two sorts ; the central window 

1 "The Borough Boys" is a nickname still i emembered as being applied to the men 
of the castle end by the dwellers in the east side of the river. A public-house, with 
the sign of " The Borough Boy," still stands in Northampton Street. 

2 "Cambridge, Described and Illustrated," by T. D. Atkinson, p. 133. 




IBS . 

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he /cl>ooi •»/" 

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on each face is of two heights, divided by a mid-wall balister shaft, 
supporting a through-stone of the usual character. On each side of 
this window there is a plain lancet at a somewhat higher level, and 
with rubble jambs. Above these latter there are small round holes — 
they can hardly be called windows. Over each of the central windows 
there is a small pilaster, stopped by a corbel which rests on the 
window head; these pilasters are cut off" abruptly at the top of the 
tower, which has probably been altered since it was first built ; most 
likely it was originally terminated by a low spire or by gables. The 
rough edges of the quoins are worked with a rebate to receive the 
plaster which originally covered the tower. The arch between the 
tower and the nave springs from bold imposts, above which are rude 
pieces of sculpture, forming stops to the hood mould. The quoins 
remaining at each angle of the present nave show that it is of the 
same length and width as the nave of the original church, and they 
seem to show also that the original church had neither aisles nor 
transepts. The chancel is also the same size as that of the early 
church, for though the east and north walls have been rebuilt, they 
are in the positions of the Saxon walls. The south wall of the 
chancel has been altered at many different periods, but has probably 
never been rebuilt. The bases of the chancel arch remain below the 
floor. The early church was probably lighted by small lancets about 
three inches wide, placed high in the wall, and without glass." 

The present nave is of the thirteenth century. The 
chancel was built as late as 1872. The building which 
still abuts against the south chancel wall belongs, however, 
to the fifteenth century, and was a connecting hall or gallery 
with " the old court " of Corpus Christi College, which not 
only took its early name of S. Benet from the ancient 
church, but for some century and more possessed no other 
College chapel. The bells of S. Benet, we read in the old 

3 1 


College records, were long used to call the students " to ye 
schooles, att such times as neede did require — as to acts, 
clearums, congregations, lecturs, disses, and such like." But 
this belongs to its story in a later age. The Pre-Conquest 
Church of S. Benet, as we have said, probably served a 
township separate and distinct from the Castle-end " borough " 
on the west bank of the river. After the two villages became 
united, the Norman Grantebrigge, and indeed the mediaeval 
Cambridge of later days, seemed to have formed a straggling 
and incompact town, stretching for the most part along the 
Roman Road which crossed the river by the bridge at the foot 
of Castle hill, and so eastward past S. Benet's, and onward 
to the open country, eventually reached Colchester across 
the forest uplands. This Roman Way, following the line of 
the modern Bridge Street, Sidney Street, S. Andrew Street, 
Regent Street, ran close to the eastern limit of the town, 
marked roughly at a later time by the King's Ditch. This 
was an artificial stream constructed as a defence of the town 
by King John in the year 121 5. It was strengthened later 
by King Henry III., who had also intended to protect the 
town on this side by a wall. The wall, however, was never 
built, and the Ditch itself could never have been much of a 
defence, except, perhaps, against casual marauders, though for 
centuries it was a cause of insanitary trouble to the town. 
Branching out of the river at the King's and Bishop's Mills, 
just above Queens' College, it joined the river again, after 
encircling the town, just below the Great Bridge and above 
the Common now called Jesus Green. The Ditch was 

3 2 


crossed by bridges on the lines of the principal roads. One 
of these, built of stone, still remains under the road now called 
Jesus Lane. There appears to have been a drawbridge also at 
the end of Sussex Street. The river itself, which formed 
the western boundary of the town, was spanned by two 
bridges, the Great Bridge at Castle End and the Small Bridge 
or Bridges at Newnham by the Mill pond. Between the two 
bridges were the principal wharfs or river hithes — corn hithe, 
flax hithe, garlic hithe, salt hithe, Dame Nichol's hithe. 
These have all now given place to the sloping lawns and 
gardens of the colleges, the far-famed " Cambridge Backs." 
The common hithe, however, below the Great Bridge still 
continues in use. It is with certain rights in regard to these 
hithes that the earliest Royal charter of which we have record 
deals. It is an undated writ of Henry I. (i ioo— 1 1 35) addressed 
to Henry, Bishop of Ely (1109-1131), and attested by an 
unnamed Chancellor and by Miles of Gloucester and by 
Richard Basset. The main object of the King's writ seems 
to be to make " his borough of Cambridge " the one " port " 
and emporium of the shire. " I forbid " — so runs the writ — 
" that any boat shall ply at any hithe in Cambridgeshire save 
at the hithe of my borough at Cambridge, nor shall barges 
be laden save in the borough of Cambridge, nor shall any 
take toll elsewhere, but only there." 

Numerous narrow lanes, all now vanished, with the excep- 
tion of John's Lane, Gareth Hostel Lane, and Silver Street, 
led down from High Street to the quays. The town was 
intersected by three main streets. From the Great Bridge 

33 e 


ran the streets already mentioned as following the line of the 
old Roman Way (the Via Devana). From this old roadway, 
at a point opposite the Round Church, there branched off the 
High Street — now Trinity Street and King's Parade — leading 
to Trumpington Gate. Parallel to the High Street, and between 
it and the river, ran Milne Street, leading from the King's 
Mill at the south end of the town, and continuing northwards 
to a point about the site of the existing sun-dial in Trinity 
Great Court, where it joined a cross-street leading into the 
High Street. Parts of Milne Street still exist in the lanes which 
run past the fronts of Queens' College and Trinity Hall. In 
mediaeval times the entrance gateways of six colleges opened 
into it — King's Hall, Michael House, Trinity Hall, King's 
College, S. Catherine's Hall, and Queens' College. Of the 
most ancient church of the town, that of S. Benedict, we have 
already spoken. Of the possibly contemporary church of 
S. Peter by the Castle, the only architectural remains of any 
importance now existing are a rich late Norman doorway and 
the bowl of an ancient font. The tower and spire belong to 
the fourteenth century. The rest of the building is entirely 
modern. Bricks, however, said to be Roman, appear to have 
been used in the new walls. Similarly of the other two 
ancient Castle-end churches, All Saints by the Castle, and 
S. Giles. Of the former nothing now remains, and its actual 
site is doubtful, for the parish attached to it has been united 
with S. Giles ever since the time when in the fourteenth 
century the Black Death left it almost without inhabitants. 
Of the Church of S. Giles there remains the ancient chancel 



'.>F>j>j gulf- 


arch of late Saxon or early Norman character (the familiar 
long-and-short work seems to date it about the middle of 
the eleventh century), and the doorway of the nave, which 
have been rebuilt in the large new church opened in 1875. 

It was, however, from this old church of S. Giles by the 
Castle that the first religious house in Cambridge of which 
we have any record, and quite possibly the most important 
factor in the early development of the University, the wealthy 
Augustinian Priory of Barnwell, took its origin. The story 
of that foundation is this. 1 

Roger Picot, Baron of Bourne and Norman Sheriff 
of Cambridgeshire, of whose hard treatment the Cambridge 

1 Cf. "Customs of Augustinian Canons," by J. Willis Clark, p. xi. 



burgesses complained to the commissioners of the Domesday 
Survey, had married a noble and pious woman named 
Hugoline. Hugoline being taken very ill at Cambridge, 
and on the point, as she thought, of death, vowed a vow, 
that if she recovered she would build a church in honour 
of God and S. Giles. " Whereupon," says the legend, " she 
recovered in three days." And in gratitude to God she built 
close to the Castle the Church of S. Giles in the year 1092, 
together with appropriate buildings, and placed therein six 
canons regular of the order of S. Augustine, under the charge 
of Canon Geoffrey of Huntingdon, a man of great piety, and 
prevailed upon her husband to endow the Church and house 
with half the tithes of his manorial demesnes. Some vestiges 
of this small house {yeteris ccenobioli vestigia) were still extant 
in Leland's time. Before, however, this Augustinian house 
had been thoroughly established, Earl Picot and his wife 
Hugoline died, committing the foundation to the care of 
their son Robert. Robert unfortunately became implicated 
in a conspiracy against Henry I., was charged with treason, 
and obliged to fly the country. The estates were confiscated, 
and the canons reduced to great want and misery. In this 
extremity a certain Pain Peverel, a valiant young Crusader, 
who had been standard-bearer to Robert Curthose in the 
Holy Land, and who had received the confiscated estates of 
Picot's son, Robert, came to the rescue, declaring that as he 
had become Picot's heir, so he would succeed him in the care 
of this foundation, and increase the number of canons to the 
number of the years of his own age, namely thirty. He 



determined also to move the house to a more convenient 
situation, and accordingly, in the year 1 1 12, he transferred it 
to an excellent site in Barnwell, a mile and a half or so down 
the river, just off the high-road leading from Cambridge to 
Newmarket. This transaction is related as follows : — 

" Perceiving that the site on which their house stood was not 
sufficiently large for all the buildings needful for his canons, and was 
devoid of any spring of fresh water, Pain Peverel besought King 
Henry to give him a certain site beyond the borough of Cambridge, 
extending from the highway to the river, and sufficiently agreeable 
from the pleasantness of its position. Besides, from the midst of that 
site there bubbled forth springs of clear fresh water, called at that 
time in English Barnewelle, the children's springs, because once a 
year, on St. John Baptist's Eve, boys and lads met there and amused 
themselves in the English fashion with wrestling matches and other 
games, and applauded each other in singing songs and playing on 
musical instruments. Hence by reason of the crowd of boys and 
girls who met and played there, a habit grew up that on the same day 
a crowd of buyers and sellers should meet in the same place to do 
business. There, too, a man of great sanctity, called Godesone, used 
to lead a solitary life in a small wooden oratory that he had built 
in honour of St. Andrew. He had died a short time before, leaving 
the place without any habitation upon it, and his oratory without a 
keeper." * 

1 Lib. Mem., Book i. chap. 9. — The principal authority for the history of Barnwell 
Priory is a manuscript volume in the British Museum (MSS. Harl. 3601) usually re- 
ferred to as the "Barnwell Cartulary" or the "Barnwell Register." The author's 
own title, however, " Liber Memorandorum Ecclesiae de Bemewelle," is far more appro- 
priate, for the contents are by no means confined to documents relating to the property 
of the house, but consist of many chapters of miscellanea dealing with the history of 
the foundation from its commencement down to the forty-fourth year of Edward III. 



In this pleasant place accordingly the house was rebuilt 
on a very large scale, and by the liberality of Peverel and 
his son William richly endowed. In the year 1 1 1 2, we 
read in the Cartulary that Peverel at once set about build- 
ing " a church of wonderful beauty and massive work in 
honour of S. Giles." To this church he gave " vestment, 
ornaments, and relics of undoubted authenticity which he 
had brought back from Palestine " ; but before he could 
carry out his intention of completing it, he died in London 
of a fever " barely ten years after the translation of the 
canons. His body was brought to Barnwell and buried 
in a becoming manner on the north side of the high altar." 
By the munificence, however, of a later benefactor, the 
church was finished and consecrated in 1191, and before 
the end of the next century the conventual buildings, 
cloister, chapter house, frater, farmery, guest hall, gate 
house, were complete, and the Priory of Augustinian Canons 
at Barnwell took its place in the monastic history of 
Cambridgeshire, a place only second probably to that of 
the great Benedictine House at Ely. 1 All that now remains 
of the Priory is a small church or chapel standing near 
the road, and the fragment of some other building. The 
whole site, however, was excavated for gravel in the 
beginning of the last century, so that it is impossible to 
speak with any certainty of the disposition of the buildings, 
although Mr. Willis Clark, in his " Customs of Augustinian 

1 At the time of the Dissolution, Dugdale states the gross yearly value of the estates 
to have been ^"351 , 1 5s. 4a 1 ., that of Ely to have been ^"1084, 6s. 9c!. 



.Uvsa/- ?V 

sff ' li!!Miff 



(hspel LQcMiiweSI Aiofy 

Canons," has from documentary sources made an ingenious 
attempt to reconstruct the whole plan of the priory. The 
small chapel of S. Andrew the Less, although it has long 
been known as the Abbey Church, has, of course, strictly 
no right to that name. Obviously it cannot be the church 
of " wondrous dimensions " built by Pain Peverel. The 
chapel, although in all likelihood it did stand within the 
Priory precincts, was most probably built for the use of 
the inhabitants of the parish by the canons, in order that 
they themselves might be left undisturbed in the exclusive 
use of the Conventual Church. It is a building of the 
early English style, with long, narrow lancet windows, 
evidently belonging to the early part of the thirteenth 



The material remains of the Priory are therefore very 
meagre, but a most interesting insight into the domestic 
economy of a monastic house is afforded by the " Consue- 
tudinarium ; or, Book, of Observances of the Austin Canons," 
which forms the Eighth Book of the Barnwell Cartulary, 
to which we have already alluded. A comparison of the 
domestic customs of a monastic house in the thirteenth 
century, as shown in this book, and of the functions of its 
various officers, with many of the corresponding customs 
and functions in the government of a Cambridge college, 
not only in mediaeval but in modern times, throws much 
light on the origin of some of the most characteristic 
features of college life to-day. 1 

Let us retrace our steps, however, along the Barnwell 
Road from the suburban monastery to the ancient town. 
There are still some features, belonging to the Norman 
structure of Cambridge, which demand our notice before 
we pass on. 

At a point where the High Street, now Trinity Street, 
branches off from Bridge Street stands the church of the 
Holy Sepulchre, one of the four round churches of England. 2 

1 Such a small matter, for example, in the domestic economy of a modern college 
as the separate rendering of a " buttery bill " and a " kitchen bill," containing items of 
expenditure which the puzzled undergraduate might naturally have expected to find 
rendered in the same weekly account, finds its explanation when we learn that in the 
economy of the monastery also the roll of " the celererarius " and the roll of the " came- 
rarius " were always kept rigidly distinct. So also more serious and important customs 
may probably be traced to monastic origin. 

2 The others are: S. Sepulchre at Northampton, c. 1100-1127; Little Maple- 
stead in Essex, c. 1300; The Temple Church in London, finished 1185. To these 
may be added the chapel in Ludlow Castle, c. n 20. 


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Presumably it must have been built by some confraternity 
connected with the newly established Military Order of 
the Templars, and, to judge by the style of its architec- 
ture — the only real evidence we have as to its date, for 
the conjecture that it owes its foundation to the young 
crusader, Pain Peverel, is purely fanciful, and of " the Ralph 
with a Beard," of which we read in the Ramsey cartularies 
as receiving " a grant of land to build a Minster in honour 
of God and the Holy Sepulchre," we know nothing — 
probably between 1120 and 1140. In its original shape, 
the church must have consisted of its present circular nave 
with the ambulatory aisle, and in all probability a semi- 
circular eastern apse. The ambulatory was vaulted, as in all 
probability was also the central area, while the apse would 
doubtless be covered with a semi-dome. The chancel and 
its north aisle, which had apparently been remodelled in 
early English times, was again reconstructed in the fifteenth 
century. At about the same time an important alteration 
was made in the circular nave by carrying up the walls to 
form a belfry. The additional stage was polygonal and 
terminated in a battlemented parapet. The Norman corbel 
table, under the original eaves of what was probably a 
dwarf spire, was not destroyed, and thus serves to mark the 
top of the Norman wall. Windows of three lights were 
not only inserted in the additional stage, but were also 
substituted for the circular-headed Norman windows of 
both ambulatory and clerestory. 

"Such," says Mr. Atkinson, "was the condition of the Church 



when, in 1841, the Cambridge Camden Society undertook its 
'restoration.' The polygonal upper story of the circular nave, 
containing four bells, was destroyed ; sham Norman windows, copied 
from one remaining old one, replaced those which had been inserted 
in the 15th century; and new stone vaults and high pitched roofs 
were constructed over the nave and ambulatory. The chancel, with 
the exception of one arch and the wall above it, were entirely rebuilt ; 
the north aisle, with the exception of the entrance arch from the west, 
was rebuilt and extended eastwards to the same length as the chancel ; 
a new south aisle of equal dimensions with the enlarged north aisle 
was added ; and a small turret for two bells was built at the north- 
west corner of the north aisle ; the lower stage of this turret was 
considered a sufficient substitute for the destroyed vestry. A new 
chancel arch of less width than the old one was built, and a pierced 
stone screen was formed above it. In addition to all this, those old 
parts which were not destroyed were ' repaired and beautified,' or 
'dressed and pointed,' or 'thoroughly restored.' What these pro- 
cesses involved is clear from an inspection of the parts to which they 
were applied ; in the west doorway, for instance, there is not one old 
stone left." 

Across the road from the Round Church, in the angle of 
land caused by the branching apart of the High Street and 
the Bridge Street, was planted one of the earliest Jewries 
established in England. The coming of the Jews to England 
was one of the incidental effects of the Norman Conquest. 
They had followed in the wake of the invading army as 
in modern times they followed the German hosts into 
France, assisting the Normans to dispose of their spoil, 
finding at usurious interest ready - money for the im- 
poverished English landowner, to meet his conqueror's 

1 "Cambridge Described," by T. D. Atkinson, p. 164. 


requisitions, and generally meeting the money-broking needs 
of both King and subject. In a curious diatribe by Richard 
of Devizes (1190), Canterbury, Rochester, Chichester, Ox- 
ford, Exeter, Worcester, Chester, Hereford, York, Ely, 
Durham, Norwich, Lincoln, Bristol, Winchester, and of 
course London are all mentioned as harbouring Jewish 
settlements. The position of the Jew, however, in England 
was all along anomalous. As the member of an alien 
race, and still more of an alien religion, he could gain 
no kind of constitutional status in the kingdom. The 
common law ignored him. His Jewry, like the royal 
forest, was outside its domain. He came, indeed, as the 
King's special man — nay, more, as the King's special chattel. 
And in this character he lived for the most part secure. 
The romantic picture of the despised, trembling Jew — the 
Isaac of York, depicted for us in Scott's " Ivanhoe " — cring- 
ing before every Christian that he meets, is, in any age of 
English history, simply a romantic picture. The attitude 
of the Jew almost to the last is one of proud and even 
insolent defiance. In the days of the Red King at any 
rate, he stood erect before the prince, and seemed to have 
enjoyed no small share of his favour and personal familiarity. 
The presence of the unbelieving Hebrew at his court 
supplied, it is said, William Rufus with many opportunities 
of mocking at the Christian Church and its bishops. In a 
well-known story of Eadmer, the Red King actually forbids 
the conversion of a Jew to the Christian faith. " It was a 
poor exchange," he said, " which would rob me of a valuable 



property and give me only a subject." The extortion of the 
Jew was therefore sheltered from the common law by the 
protection of the King. The bonds of the Jew were kept, 
in fact, under the royal seal in the royal archives, a fact of 
which the memory long remained in the name of " The 
Star" chamber; a name derived from the Hebrew word 
(is h tar) for a " bond." 

The late Mr. J. R. Green, in a delightful sketch on the early 
history of Oxford in his " Stray Studies," afterwards incor- 
porated into the pages of his " History of the English People," 
seems inclined to give some support to the theory which 
would connect the origin of the University with the establish- 
ment of the Oxford Jewry. This theory, however, can hardly 
be accepted. 1 It is very probable indeed that the medical 
school, which we find established at Oxford and in high 
repute during the twelfth century, is traceable to Jewish 
origin ; and the story is no doubt true also, which tells how 
Roger Bacon penetrated to the older world of material research 
by means of the Hebrew instruction and the Hebrew books 
which he found among the Jewish rabbis of the Oxford 
Synagogue. It is reasonable also to suppose that the history 
of Christian Aristotelianism, and of the Scholastic Theology 
that was based upon it, may have been largely influenced by 
the philosophers of the Synagogue. It seems, indeed, to be 
a well-established conclusion, that the philosophy of Aristotle 
was first made known to the West through the Arabic versions 
brought from Spain by Jewish scholars and rabbis. But it 

1 Cf. Neubauet's Collectanea, it. p. 277 sq. 


SETS 4 iTOiriT^U 

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] ii' ^ C -nt'w denx'li/lied 

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is undoubtedly " in a more purely material way " that, as 
Mr. Green truly says, the Jewry most directly influenced 
academic history. At Oxford, as elsewhere, " the Jew 
brought with him something more than the art of science 
which he had gathered at Cordova or Bagdad ; he brought 
with him the new power of wealth. The erection of stately 
castles, of yet statelier abbeys, which followed the Conquest, 
the rebuilding of almost every cathedral or conventual 
church, marks the advent of the Jewish capitalist. No one 
can study the earlier history of our great monastic houses 
without finding the secret of that sudden outburst of 
industrial activity to which we owe the noblest of our 
Minsters in the loans of the Jew." 

Certainly at Cambridge, though perhaps hardly to the 
same extent as at Oxford, the material influence on the 
town of the Jewry is traceable. At Oxford, it is said that 
nearly all the larger dwelling-houses, which were subsequently 
converted into hostels, bore traces of their Jewish origin in 
their names, such as Moysey's Hall, Lombard's Hall, Jacob's 
Hall, and each of the successive Town Halls of the borough 
had previously been Jewish houses. We have some evidence 
of a similar conversion at Cambridge. In the first half of the 
thirteenth century, before we hear either of Tolbooth or of 
Guildhall, the enlarged judicial responsibilities of the town 
authorities made it necessary that they should be in possession 
of some strong building suitable for a prison. Accordingly, 
in 1224, we find King Henry III. granting to the burgesses 
the House of Benjamin, the Jew, for the purposes of a gaol. 

49 G 


It is said that either the next house or a part of Benjamin's 
House had been the Synagogue of the Jewry, and was granted 
in the first instance to the Franciscan Friars on their arrival 
in the city. Benjamin's House, although it had been altered 
from time to time, appears never to have been entirely rebuilt, 
and some fragments of this, the earliest of Cambridge muni- 
cipal buildings, are perhaps still to be found embedded in the 
walls of the old Town Arms public-house — a room in which, 
as late as the seventeenth century, was still known as " The 
Star Chamber " — at the western side of Butter Row, in the 
block of old buildings at the corner of Market Square, adjoin- 
ing the new frontage of the Guildhall. 

With this relic of the ancient Jewry we reach the last 
remaining building in Cambridge that had any existence in 
Norman times. And with the close of this age — the age of 
the Crusades — we already find the Cambridge burgess safely 
in possession, not only of that personal freedom which had 
descended to him by traditional usage from the communal 
customs of his early Teutonic forefathers, but also of many 
privileges which he had bought in hard cash from his Norman 
conqueror. Before the time of the first charter of King John 
(1201) Cambridge had passed through most of the earlier steps 
of emancipation which eventually led to complete self-govern- 
ment. The town-bell ringing out from the old tower of 
S. Benet's already summoned the Cambridge freemen to a 
borough mote in which the principles of civic justice, of loyal 
association, of mutual counsel, of mutual aid, were acknow- 
ledged by every member of a free, self-ruling assembly. 




" Si tollis libertatem, tollis dignitatem." — S. Columban. 

" Record we too with just and faithful pen, 
That many hooded cxnobites there are 
Who in their private cells have yet a care 
Of public quiet ; unambitious men, 
Counsellors for the world, of piercing ken ; 
Whose fervent exhortations from afar 
Move princes to their duty, peace or war ; 
And oft times in the most forbidding den 
Of solitude, with love of science strong, 
How patiently the yoke of thought they bear. . . . 
By such examples moved to unbought pains 
The people work like congregated bees ; 
Eager to build the quiet fortresses 
Where piety, as they believe, obtains 
From heaven a general blessing ; timely rains 
And sunshine ; prosperous enterprise and peace and equity." 

— Wordsworth. 

Monastic Origins — Continuity of Learning in Early England — The School of York — 
The Venerable Bede — Alcuin and the Schools of Charles the Great — The Danish 
Invasions — The Benedictine Revival — The Monkish Chroniclers — The Coming of 
the Friars — The Franciscan and Dominican Houses at Cambridge — The Fran- 
ciscan Scholars — Roger Bacon — Bishop Grosseteste — The New Aristotle and the 
Scientific Spirit — The Scholastic Philosophy — Aquinas — Migration of Scholars 
from Paris to Cambridge — The term " University" — The Colleges and the Hostels 
— The Course of Study — Trivium and Quadrivium — The Four Faculties — England 
a Paradise of Clerks — Parable of the Monk's Pen. 


N the centuries which preceded the rise of the Univer- 
sities, the monks had been the great educators of 
England, and it is to monastic origins that we must 
first turn to find the beginnings of university and 

collegiate life at Cambridge. 



In the library of Trinity College there is preserved a cata- 
logue of the books which Augustine and his monks brought 
with them into England. " These are the foundation or the 
beginning of the library of the whole English Church, a.d. 
60 i," are the words with which this brief catalogue closes. 
A Bible in two volumes, a Psalter and a book of the Gospels, 
a Martyrology, the Apocryphal Lives of the Apostles, and 
the exposition of certain Epistles represented at the com- 
mencement of the seventh century the sum-total of literature 
which England then possessed. In little more than fifty years, 
however, the Latin culture of Augustine and his monks had 
spread throughout the land, and before the eighth century 
closed England had become the literary centre of Western 
Europe. Probably never in the history of any nation had 
there been so rapid a development of learning. Certainly few 
things are more remarkable in the history of the intellectual 
development of Europe than that, in little more than a hundred 
years after knowledge had first dawned upon this country, an 
Anglo-Saxon scholar should be producing books upon litera- 
ture and philosophy second to nothing that had been written 
by any Greek or Roman author after the third century. But 
the great writer whom after-ages called " the Venerable 
Bede," and who was known to his own contemporaries as 
" the wise Saxon," was not the only scholar that the seventh 
and the eighth centuries had produced in England. Under 
the twenty-one years of the Archiepiscopate of Theodore 
(669-690), schools and monasteries rapidly spread throughout 
the country. In the school established under the walls of 

5 2 


Canterbury, in connection with the Monastery of S. Peter, 
better known in after-times as S. Augustine's, and over which 
his friend the Abbot Adrian ruled, were trained not a few of 
the great scholars of those days — Albinus, the future adviser 
and assistant of Bede, Tobias of Rochester, Aldhelm of Sher- 
borne, and John of Beverley. The influence of these and 
other scholars sent out from the school at Canterbury soon 
made itself felt. In Northumbria, too, the torch of learning 
had been kept alight by the Irish monks of Lindisfarne, and 
of Melrose and of Iona, " that nest from which," as an old 
writer playing on its founder S. Columba's name had said, 
" the sacred doves had taken their flight to every quarter." 

While Archbishop Theodore and the Abbot Adrian 
were organising Anglo-Latin education in the monasteries 
of the south, Wilfrith, the Archbishop of York, and his 
friend Benedict Biscop were performing a no less extensive 
work in the north. The schools of Northumbria gathered 
in the harvest of Irish learning, and of the Franco-Gallican 
schools, which still preserved a remnant of classical litera- 
ture, and of Rome itself, now barbarised. Of Bede, in the 
book-room of the monastery at Jarrow, we are told by his 
disciple and biographer, Cuthbert, that in the intervals of 
the regular monastic discipline the great scholar found 
time to undertake the direction of the monastic school. 
" He had many scholars, all of whom he inspired with an 
extraordinary love of learning." " It was always sweet to 
me," he writes himself, " to learn to teach." At the 
conclusion of his " Ecclesiastical History " he has himself 



given a list of some thirty-eight books which he had 
written up to that time. Of these not a few are of an 
educational character. Besides a large body of Scripture 
commentary, we have from his pen treatises on ortho- 
graphy, grammar, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. 
His book on "The Nature of Things" was the science 
primer of the Anglo-Saxons for many generations. He 
wrote, in fact, to teach. At the school of York, however, 
was centred nearly all the wisdom of the West, and its 
greatest pupil was Alcwyne. He became essentially the 
representative schoolmaster of his age. For fourteen years, 
attracted by the fame of his scholarship, students not only 
from all parts of England and Ireland, but also from France 
and Germany, flocked to the monastery school at York. In 
782 Alcwyne left England to join the Court of Charles the 
Great and to take charge of the Palatine schools, carrying 
with him to the Continent the learning which was about 
to perish for a time in England, as the result of the 
internal dissensions of its kings and the early ravages of 
the Norsemen. " Learning," to use the phrase of William 
of Malmesbury, " was buried in the grave of Bede for 
four centuries." The Danish invader, carrying his ravages 
now up the Thames and now up the Humber, devastated 
the east of England with fire and sword. " Deliver us, 
O Lord, from the frenzy of the Northmen ! " had been 
a suffrage of a litany of the time, but it was one to which 
the scholars and the bookmen, no less than the monks and 
nuns of that age, found no answer. The noble libraries 



which Theodore and the Abbots Adrian and Benedict had 
founded were given to the flames. The monasteries of the 
Benedictines, the chief guardians of learning, were com- 
pletely broken up. " It is not at all improbable," says 
Mr. Kemble, " that in the middle of the tenth century there 
was not a genuine Benedictine left in England." 

A revival of monastic life — some attempt at a return to 
the old Benedictine ideal — came, however, with that cen- 
tury. Under the auspices of S. Dunstan, the Benedictine 
Order — renovated at its sources by the Cluniac reform — 
was again established, and surviving a second wave of 
Danish devastation was, under the patronage of King Cnut 
and Edward the Confessor, further strengthened and ex- 
tended. The strength of this revival is perhaps best seen 
in the wonderful galaxy of monastic chroniclers which sheds 
its light over that century. Florence of Worcester, Henry 
of Huntingdon, William of Malmesbury, Ingulf, Geoffrey 
Gaimar, William de Monte, John and Richard of Hexham, 
Jordan Fantosme, Simeon of Durham, Thomas and Richard 
of Ely, Gervase, Giraldus Cambrensis, William of Newburgh, 
Richard of Devizes all follow one another in close succes- 
sion, while Robert of Gloucester, Roger of Wendover, and 
Matthew Paris carry on the line into the next age. But 
apart from the Chroniclers, though the monasteries once 
more flourished in England, the early Benedictine ideal of 
learning did not at once revive. Indeed, the tendency of 
the monastic reformers of the twelfth century was distinctly 
hostile to the more intellectual side of the monastic ideal. 



By the end of the century the majority of the Benedictine 
convents had sunk into rich corporations of landed pro- 
prietors, whose chief ambition was the aggrandisement of 
the house to which they belonged. The new impulse of 
reform, which in its indirect results was to give the 
thirteenth century in England so dominant a place in 
the history of her civilisation, came from a quite diffe- 
rent direction. Almost simultaneously, without concert, in 
different countries, two great minds, S. Francis and S. 
Dominic, conceived a wholly new ideal of monastic perfec- 
tion. Unlike the older monastic leaders, deliberately turn- 
ing their backs upon the haunts of men in town and 
village, and seeking in the wilderness seclusion from the 
world which they professed to forsake, these new idealists, 
the followers of S. Dominic and S. Francis, the mendicant 
Orders, the Friars Preachers and the Friars Minors, turned 
to the living world of men. Their object was no longer 
the salvation of the individual monk, but the salvation of 
others through him. Monastic Christianity was no longer 
to flee the world ; it must conquer it or win it by gentle 
violence. The work of the new Orders, therefore, was from 
the first among their fellow-men, in village, in town, in city, 
in university. 

"Like the great modern Order (of the Jesuits) which, when 
their methods had in their turn become antiquated, succeeded to 
their influence by a still further departure from the old monastic 
routine, the mendicant Orders early perceived the necessity of getting 
a hold upon the centres of education. With the Dominicans indeed 



this was a primary object ; the immediate purpose of their foundation 
was resistance to this Albigensian heresy ; they aimed at obtaining 
influence upon the more educated and more powerful classes. 
Hence it was natural that Dominic should have looked to the 
universities as the most suitable recruiting ground for his Order : 
to secure for his Preachers the highest theological training that 
the age afforded was an essential element of the new monastic 
ideal. . . . The Franciscan ideal was a less intellectual one . . . 
but though the Franciscans laboured largely among the neglected 
poor of crowded and pestilential cities, they too found it practi- 
cally necessary to go to the universities for recruits and to secure 
some theological education for their members." 1 

The Black Friars of S. Dominic arrived in England 
in 1 22 1, the Grey Friars of S. Francis in 1224. The 
Dominicans met with the least success at first, but this was 
fully compensated by the rapid progress of the Franciscans. 
Very soon after the coming of the Grey Friars they had 
formed a settlement at Oxford, under the auspices of the 
greatest scholar-bishop of the age, Grosseteste of Lincoln, 
and had built their first rude chapel at Cambridge. In the 
early days, however, the followers of S. Francis made a hard 
fight against the taste for sumptuous buildings and for the 
greater personal comfort which characterised the time. " I 
did not enter into religion to build walls," protested an 
English Provincial of the Order when the brethren begged 
for a larger convent. But at Cambridge the first humble 
house of the Grey Friars, which had been founded in 1224 
in " the old Synagogue," was shortly removed to a site at 

1 Cf. Rashdall's "Universities of Europe," vol. i. p. 347. 

57 h 


the corner of Bridge Street and Jesus Lane — now occupied by 
Sidney Sussex College — and that noble church commenced, 
which, three centuries later, at the time of the Dissolution, 
the University vainly endeavoured to save for itself, having 
for some time used it for the ceremony of Commencement. 1 
But of this we shall have to speak later in our account of 
the Foundation of Sidney College. 

But if the Franciscans, in their desire to obey the wishes 
of their Founder, found a difficulty in combating the passion 
of the time for sumptuous buildings, they had even less 
success in struggling against the passion of the time for 
learning. Their vow of poverty ought to have denied them 
the possession even of books. " I am your breviary ! I am 
your breviary ! " S. Francis had cried passionately to the novice 
who desired a Psalter. And yet it is a matter of common 
knowledge that Grosseteste, the great patron of the Franciscans, 
brought Greek books to England, and in conjunction with 
two other Franciscans, whose names are known — Nicholas the 
Greek and John of Basingstoke — gave to the world Latin 
versions of certain Greek documents. Foremost among these 
is the famous early apocryphal book, The Testament of the 
Twelve Patriarchs, the Greek manuscript of which is still in 
the Cambridge University Library. There is no better state- 
ment, perhaps, of those gaps in the knowledge of Western 
Christendom, which the scholars of the Franciscan Order did 

1 The earliest notice of this practice occurs in the University Accounts for 1507-8, 
when carpenters are employed to carry the materials used for the stages from the schools 
to the Church of the Franciscans, to set them up there, and to carry them back again to 
the schools. Similar notices are to be found in subsequent years. 


so much to fill, than a passage in the writings of the greatest 
of all English Franciscans, Roger Bacon, which runs to this 
effect : — 

" Numberless portions of the wisdom of God are wanting to us. 
Many books of the Sacred Text remain untranslated, as two books 
of the Maccabees which I know to exist in Greek : and many other 
books of divers Prophets, whereto reference is made in the books 
of Kings and Chronicles. Josephus too, in the books of his 
Antiquities, is altogether falsely rendered as far as concerns the 
Chronological side, and without him nothing can be known of the 
history of the Sacred Text. Unless he be corrected in a new trans- 
lation, he is of no avail, and the Biblical history is lost. Number- 
less books again of Hebrew and Greek expositors are wanting to the 
Latins : as those of Origen, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Damascene, 
Dionysius, Chrysostom, and other most noble Doctors, alike in 
Hebrew and in Greek. The Church therefore is slumbering. She 
does nothing in this matter, nor hath done these seventy years : 
save that my Lord Robert, Bishop of Lincoln, of holy memory, 
did give to the Latins some part of the writings of S. Dionysius 
and of Damascene, and some other holy Doctors. It is an amazing 
thing this negligence of the Church ; for, from the time of Pope 
Damasus, there hath not been any Pope, nor any of less rank, 
who hath busied himself for the advantaging of the Church by 
translations, except the aforesaid glorious Bishop." 1 

The truth to which Roger Bacon in this passage gave 
expression, the scholars of the Franciscan Order set themselves 
to realise and act upon. For a considerable time the Fran- 
ciscan houses at both Oxford and Cambridge kept alive the 
interest of this " new learning " to which Robert Grosseteste 

1 Cf. " The Cambridge Modern History," vol. i. p. 584, &c. 



and Roger Bacon opened the way. The work of the Order 
at Oxford is fairly well known. And in the Cambridge 
House of the Order there was at least one teacher of divinity, 
Henry of Costessey, who, in his Commentary on the Psa/ms, set 
the example of a type of scholarship, which, in its close insist- 
ence on the exact meaning of the text, in its constant reference 
to the original Hebrew, and in its absolute independence of 
judgment, has, one is proud to think, ever remained a char- 
acteristic of the Cambridge school of textual criticism down 
even to our own day. 

But if the Franciscans, impelled by their desire to illus- 
trate the Sacred Text, had thus become intellectual in spite of 
the ideal of their Founder, the Dominicans were intellectual 
from their starting-point. They had, indeed, been called into 
being by the necessity of combating the intellectual doubts 
and controversies of the south of France. That they should 
become a prominent factor in the development of the univer- 
sities was but the fulfilment of their original design. With 
their activity also is associated one of the greatest intellectual 
movements of the thirteenth century — the introduction of the 
new Philosophy. The numerous houses of the Order planted 
by them in the East brought about an increased intercourse 
between those regions and Western Europe, and helped on 
that knowledge of the new Aristotle, which, as we have said 
in a previous chapter, England probably owes largely to the 
philosophers of the Synagogue. It is round the University of 

Paris, however, that the earlier history, both of the Dominican 



scholars and of the new Aristotle, mainly revolves. Here 
the great system of Scholastic Philosophy was elaborated, by 
which the two great Dominican teachers, Albertus Magnus 
— " the ape of Aristotle," as he was irreverently and unjustly 
called by his Franciscan contemporaries — and his greater 
pupil, Thomas Aquinas, " the seraphic Doctor," vindicated 
the Christian Creed in terms of Aristotelian logic, and laid at 
least a solid foundation for the Christian Theology of the 
future, in the contention that Religion is rational, and that 
Reason is divine, that all knowledge and all truth, from what- 
ever source they are derived, are capable of being reduced to 
harmony and unity, because the name of Christianity is both 
Wisdom and Truth. 

In the year 1229 there broke out at Paris a feud of more 
than ordinary gravity between the students and the citizens, 
undignified enough in its cause of origin, but in the event 
probably marking a distinct step in the development of 
Cambridge University. A drunken body of students did some 
act of great violence to the citizens. Complaint was made to 
the Bishop of Paris and to the Queen Blanche. The members 
of the University who had not been guilty of the outrage 
were violently attacked and ill-treated by the police of the 
city. The University teachers suspended their classes and 
demanded satisfaction. The demand was refused, and masters 
and scholars dispersed. Large numbers, availing themselves 
of the invitation of King Henry III. to settle where they 
pleased in this country, migrated to the shores of England ; 

and Cambridge, probably from its proximity to the eastern 



coast, and as the centre where Prince Louis, in alliance with 
the English baronage, but a few years before had raised the 
Royal standard, seems to have attracted a large majority of 
the students. A Royal writ, issued in the year 1231, for the 
better regulation of the University, probably makes reference 
to this migration when it speaks of the large number of 
students, both within the realm and " from beyond the seas," 
who had lately settled in Cambridge, and gives power to the 
Bishop of Ely " to signify rebellious clerks who would not be 
chastised by the Chancellor and Masters," and if necessary to 
invoke the aid of the Sheriff in their due punishment. 
Another Royal writ of the same reign expressly provides 
that no student shall remain in the University unless under 
the tuition of some Master of Arts — the earliest trace perhaps 
of that disciplinary organisation which the motley and turbu- 
lent crowd representing the student community of that age 
demanded. 1 

It will be observed that in these Royal writs the term 
" university " occurs. But it must not be supposed that the 
word is used in its more modern signification, of a community 
or corporation devoted to learning and education formally 
recognised by legal authority. That is a use which appears 
for the first time towards the end of the fourteenth century. 
In the age of which we are speaking, and in the writs of 
Henry III., universitas magistrorum et discipulorum or scholarium 
simply means a " community of teachers and scholars." 
The common designation in medieval times of such a body 

1 Cooper's "Annals," i. 42. 


as we now mean by " university " was studium generate^ or 
sometimes studium alone. It is necessary, moreover, to remem- 
ber that universities in the earliest times had not infrequently 
a very vigorous life as places of learning, long before they 
received Royal or legal recognition ; and it is equally necessary 
not to forget that colleges for the lodging and maintenance 
and education of students are by no means an essential feature 
of the mediaeval conception of a university. 

" The University of the Middle Ages was a corporation of learned 
men, associated for the purposes of teaching, and possessing the 
privilege that no one should be allowed to teach within their 
dominions unless he had received their sanction, which could only be 
granted after trial of his ability. The test applied consisted of exa- 
minations and public disputations ; the sanction assumed the form of 
a public ceremony and the name of a degree ; and the teachers or 
doctors so elected or created carried out their office of instruction by 
lecturing in the public schools to the students, who, desirous of 
hearing them, took up their residence in the place wherein the 
University was located. The degree was, in fact, merely a license to 
teach. The teacher so licensed became a member of the ruling body. 
The University, as a body, does not concern itself with the food and 
lodging of the students, beyond the exercise of a superintending power 
over the rents and regulations of the houses in which they are lodged, 
in order to protect them from exaction ; and it also assumes the care 
of public morals. The only buildings required by such a corporation 
in the first instance were a place to hold meetings and ceremonies, 
a library, and schools for teaching, or, as we should call them, lecture 
rooms. A college, on the other hand, in its primitive form, is a 
foundation erected and endowed by private munificence solely for the 
lodging and maintenance of deserving students, whose lack of means 



rendered them unable to pursue the university course without some 
extraneous assistance." * 

It must be remembered, moreover, that when a mediaeval 
benefactor founded a college his intentions were very different 
from those which would actuate a similar person at the pre- 
sent day. His object was to provide board and lodging and 
a small stipend, tiot for students, but for teachers. As for the 
taught, they lodged where they could, like students at a 
Scottish or a Continental university to-day ; and it was not 
until the sixteenth century was well advanced that they 
were admitted within the precincts of the colleges on the 
payment of a small annual rent or " pension " — whence the 
modern name of " pensioner " for the undergraduate or pupil 
members of the college. Indeed, the term " college " 
[collegium), as applied to a building, is a modern use of the 
word. In the old days the term " college " was strictly and 
accurately applied to the persons who formed the com- 
munity of scholars, not to the building which housed them. 
For that building the correct term always used in mediaeval 
times was " domus " (house), or "aula" (hall). Sometimes, 
indeed, the two names were combined. Thus, in an old 
document we find the earliest of the colleges — Peterhouse — 
entitled, Domus Sancli Petri, she Aula Scholar htm Episcopi 
Eliensis — The House of S. Peter, or the Hall of the Scholars 
of the Bishop of Ely. 

In all probability the University in early days took no 

1 Willis and Clark, " Architectural History of the University of Cambridge," 
Introduction, vol. i. p. xiv. 



cognisance whatever of the way in which students obtained 
lodgings. It was the inconvenience and discomfort of this 
system, no doubt, which led to the establishment of what 
were afterwards termed " Hostels," apparently by voluntary 
action on the part of the students themselves. In the first 
half of the sixteenth century there seem to have been about 
twenty of these hostels, 1 but at the end of the century there 
appears to have been only about nine left. There is an 
interesting passage in a sermon by Lever at Paul's Cross, 
preached in 1550, which throws light upon this desertion 
of the hostels, where he speaks of those scholars who, 
" havyng rych frendes or beyng beneficed men dyd lyve 
of themselves in Ostles and Inns, be eyther gon awaye, or 
elles fayne to crepe into colleges, and put poore men from 
bare lyvynges." 

The University then, or, more strictly speaking, the 
Stadium Generate, existed as an institution long before the 
organisation of the residential college or hall ; and as a 
consequence, for many a year it had an organisation quite 
independent of its colleges. The University of Cambridge, 
like the University of Oxford, was modelled mainly on the 
University of Paris. Its course of study followed the old 
classical tradition of the division of the seven liberal sciences 
— grammar, logic, rhetoric, music, arithmetic, geometry, 
and astronomy — into two classes, the Trillium and Quad- 
rivium, a system of teaching which had been handed down 
by the monastic schools in a series of text-books, jejune and 

1 Cf. list of names given in " Willis and Clark," vol. i. pp. xxv.-xxvii. 

65 I 


meagre, which were mainly compilations and abridgments 
from the older classical sources. One such treatise, perhaps 
the most popular in the monastery schools, was a book by 
Martianus Capella, a teacher of rhetoric at Carthage, in 
the fifth century. The treatise is cast in allegorical form, 
and represents the espousals of Mercury and Philology, in 
which Philology is represented as a goddess, and the seven 
liberal arts as handmaidens presented by Mercury to his 
bride. The humour of this allegory is not altogether spirit- 
less, if at times somewhat coarse. Here is a specimen. 
The plaudits that follow upon the discourse delivered by 
Arithmetica are supposed to be interrupted by laughter, 
occasioned by the loud snores of Silenus asleep under the 
influence of his deep potations. The kiss wherewith 
Rhetorica salutes Philologia is heard throughout the as- 
sembly — nihil enim si/ens, ac si cuperet, faciebat. So popular 
did this mythological medley become, that in the tenth 
century we find certain learned monks embroidering the 
subject of the poem on their Church vestments. A memoria 
technica in hexameter lines has also come down to us, show- 
ing- how the monastic scholar was assisted to remember 
that grammar, dialectics, and rhetoric belonged to the first 
division of the sciences called the Trivium, and that the four 
other sciences belonged to the ^uadrivhim : — 

" Gram. : loquitur ; Dia. : vera docet ; Rhet. : verba colorat, 
Mus. : canit; A r. : numerat; Geo. : ponderat ; Ast. : colit astra." 

In a further classification given by another scholar of 



the end of the twelfth century, Alexander Neckham, we 
have enumerated the four Faculties recognised by the 
mediaeval University : Arts, Theology, Law, Medicine. 

" Hie florent Artes, Ccelestis Pagina regnat, 
Stant Leges, lucet Jus : Medicina viget." 

Such, then, was the cycle of mediaeval study. And the 
student whose ambition it was to become a master of this 
cycle — a magister or doctor (for in early days the two 
titles were synonymous) facultatis — must attain to it through 
a seven years' course. In the school attached to a monastery 
or a cathedral, or from the priest of his native parish, we 
may suppose that the student has learnt some modicum 
of Latin, " the scholar's vernacular," or failing that, that 
the first stage of the Trivium — Grammatica — has been learnt 
on his arrival at the University. For this purpose, if he 
is a Cambridge student at least, he is placed under the 
charge of a special teacher, called by a mysterious name, 
Magister Glomerice, and he himself becomes a " glo- 
merel," giving allegiance oddly enough during this state 
of pupilage, not to the Chancellor, the head of his University, 
but to the Archdeacon of Ely. Of the actual books read 
in the grammar course it is difficult to give an account. 
They may have been few or many. Indeed, at this period 
when the works of Aristotle were coming so much into 
vogue, it would seem as if the old Grammar course gave 
way at an early period to Philosophy. In a curious old 
French fabliau of the thirteenth century, entitled " The 



Battle of the Seven Arts," ' there is evidence of this inno- 
vation ; incidentally also, a list of the books more properly 
belonging to the Grammar course is also given. 

" Savez por qui est la descorde ? 
Qu'il ne sont pas d'une science : 
Car Logique, qui tozjors fence, 
Claime les auctors autoriaus 
Et les clers d'Orliens glomeriaus. 
Si vaut bien chascuns iiii Omers, 
Quar il boivent a granz gomers, 
Et sevent bien versefier 
Que d'une fueille d'un figuier 
Vous ferent-il le vers. 

Aristote, qui fu a pie, 
Si fist chdoir Gramaire enverse, 
Lors i a point Mesire Perse 
Dant Juvenal et dant Orasce, 
Virgile, Lucain, et Elasce, 
Et Sedule, Propre, Prudence, 
Arator, Omer, et Terence : 
Tuit chaplerent sor Aristote, 
Qui fu fers com chastel sor mote." 

" Do you know the reason of the discord ? 
'Tis because they are not for the same science, 
For Logic, who is always disputing, 
Claims the ancient authors, 
And the glomerel clerks of Orleans, 
Each of them is quite equal to four Homers, 

1 Jubinal's " Rutebeuf," quoted by Wright in his Biographia Britannica Litteraria, 
p. 40. 



For they drink by great draughts 
And know so well how to make verse, 
That about a single fig leaf 
They would make you fifty verses. 

Aristotle who was on foot 

Knocked Grammar down flat. 

Then there rode up Master Persius, 

Dan Juvenal and Dan Horace, 

Virgil, Lucan, and Statius, 

And Sedulius, Prosper, Prudentius, 

Arator, Homer, and Terence : 

They all fell upon Aristotle 

Who was as bold as a castle upon a hill." 

And so for the Cambridge " glomerel," if Aristotle held his 
own against the classics, Dan Homer, and the rest, in the 
second year of his university course the student would find 
himself a " sophister," or disputant in the Logic school. To 
Logic succeeded Rhetoric, which also meant Aristotle, and 
so the " trivial " arts were at an end, and the " incepting " 
or " commencing " bachelor of arts began his apprentice- 
ship to a " Master of Faculty." In the next four years 
he passed through the successive stages of the Quadri- 
vium, and at the end received the certificate of his 
professor, was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts, 
and thereby was admitted also to the brotherhood of 
teachers, and himself became an authorised lecturer. A 
post-graduate course might follow in Theology or Canon 
or Civil Law, involving another five or six years of 

university life. In the course for the Canon Law the 

6 9 


candidate for a doctor's degree was required to have heard 
lectures on the civil law for three years, and on the Decre- 
tals for another three years ; he must, too, have attended 
cursory lectures on the Bible for at least two years, 
and must himself have lectured " cursorily " on one of four 
treatises, and on some one book of the Decretals. 

Obviously, if this statutory course was strictly observed in 
those days, the scarlet hood could never grace the shoulders 
of one who was nothing more than a dexterous logician, or 
the honoured title of Doctor be conferred on one who had 
never taught. Disce docendo was indeed the motto of the 
University of Cambridge in the thirteenth century. 

The great constitutional historian of our country, the late 
Bishop Stubbs, in one of the wisest and wittiest of his 
statutable lectures at Oxford, 1 speaks of England in this age 
as " the paradise of clerks." He illustrates the truth of his 
characterisation by drawing an imaginary picture of a foreign 
scholar making an Iter Anglicum with the object of collecting 
materials for a history of the learning and literature of Eng- 
land. The Bishop is able readily to crowd his canvas with 
the figures of eminent Englishmen drawn from centres of 
learning in every part of the land, from Dover, from Canter- 
bury, from London, from Rochester, from Chichester, from 
Winchester, from Devizes, from Salisbury, from Exeter, from 
S. Albans, from Ely, from Peterborough, from Lincoln, from 
Howden, from York, from Durham, from Hexham, from 
Melrose ; scholars, historians, chroniclers, poets, philosophers, 

1 Stubbs, "Lectures on Mediaeval and Modern History," p. 1 66. 



logicians, theologians, canonists, lawyers, all going to prove 
by the glimpse they give us into circles of scholastic activity, 
monastic for the most part, how comparatively wide was the 
extent of English learning and English education in the 
thirteenth century — an age which it has usually been the 
fashion to regard as barbarous and obscure — and how germi- 
nant of institutions, intellectual as well as political, which 
have since become vital portions of our national existence. 

From the point of view of a later age there is doubtless 
something to be said on the other side. Disce docendo 
remained perhaps the academic motto, but the learning and 
the teaching was still under the domination of monasticism, 
and the monastic scholar, however patient and laborious he 
might be and certainly was, was also for the most part abso- 
lutely uncritical. He cultivated formal logic to perfection ; 
he reasoned from his premise with most admirable subtlety, 
but he had usually commenced by assuming his premise with 
unfaltering, because unreasoning, faith. We shall see, however, 
as we proceed with our history of the collegiate life of the 
University, in the succeeding centuries, that the critical spirit 
which gave force to the genius of the great Franciscan 
teachers, Roger Bacon and Bishop Grosseteste, in resisting 
the tendencies of their age, which found practical application 
also in the textual interpretation of Holy Writ in such writings 
as those of Henry of Costessey, or in the sagacious " Treatise 
on the Laws and Customs of England " — the oldest of our 
legal classics — by Ranulf Glanville, or in the " Historia 
Rerum Anglicanum," of the inquisitive and independent- 



minded Yorkshire scholar, William of Newburgh, was a factor 
not to be ignored in the heritage of learning bequeathed by 
the great men of the thirteenth century to their more 
enlightened and liberal successors, the theologians, the lawyers, 
and the historians of the future. 

There is a mediaeval legend of a certain monkish writer, 
whose tomb was opened twenty years or so after his death, to 
reveal the fact, that although the remainder of his body had 
crumbled to dust the hand that had held the pen remained 
flexible and undecayed. The legend is a parable. Some of 
the lessons of that parable we may expect to find interpreted 
in the academic history of Cambridge in the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries. 




" Re unius 
Exemplo omnium quoquot extant 
Collegiorum, fundatori." — Epitaph of Walter de Merton. 

The Early Monastic Houses in Cambridge — Student Proselytising by the Friars 
— The Oxford College of Merton a Protest against this Tendency — 
The Rule of Merton taken as a Model by Hugh de Balsham, Founder of 
Peterhouse — The Hospital of S. John — The Scholars of Ely — Domestic 
Economy of the College — The Dress of the Mediaeval Student — -Peter- 
house Buildings — Little S. Mary's Church — The Perne Library — The 
College Chapel. 

THE first beginnings of the University of Cambridge 
are, as we have seen in the preceding chapters, largely 
traceable to a monastic inspiration. The first begin- 
nings of the Cambridge Colleges, on the other hand, 
are as certainly traceable to the protest which, as early as the 
middle of the thirteenth century, it became necessary to make 
against the proselytising tendencies of the monastic Orders. 
At a time when, as we have seen, the University authorities 
took no cognisance whatever of the way in which the student 
was lodged, and when even the unsatisfactory hostel system — 
eventually organised, as it would appear, by voluntary action 
on the part of the students themselves — did not exist, the 
houses of the monastic Orders were already well established. 
We have described the fully-equipped house of the Augus- 

73 k 


tinian Canons at Barnwell. Within the town the Franciscans 
had established themselves, as early as 1224, in the old syna- 
gogue, and fifty years later had erected, on the present site of 
Sydney College, a spacious house, which Ascham long after- 
wards described as an ornament to the University, and the 
precincts of which were still, in the time of Fuller, to be traced 
in the College grounds. In 1274 the Dominicans had settled 
where Emmanuel now stands. About the middle of the 
century the Carmelites, who had originally occupied an 
extensive foundation at Newnham, but were driven from 
thence by the winter floods, settled near the present site of 
Queens'. Towards the close of the century the Augustinian 
Friars took up their residence near the site of the old Botanic 
Gardens. Opposite to the south part of the present gardens 
of Peterhouse, on the east side of Trumpington Street, were 
the Gilbertines, or the Canons of S. Gilbert of Sempringham, 
the one purely English foundation. In 1257 the Friars of the 
Order of Bethlehem settled also in Trumpington Street, and 
in 1258 the Friars of the Sack, or of the Penitence of Jesus 
Christ, settled in the parish of S. Mary the Great, removed 
soon afterwards to the parish of S. Peter without the Trump- 
ington Gate. 

It was natural, therefore, that these well-equipped houses 
should hold out great attractions and opportunities to the 
needy and houseless student, and that complaint should shortly 
be made that many young and unsuspicious boys were induced 
to enrol themselves as members of Franciscan, or Dominican, 
or other Friars' houses long before they were capable of 



judging the full importance of their action. One cannot 
read the biographies of even such strong personalities as those 
of Roger Bacon or William of Occam without surmising that 
their adoption of the Franciscan vow was the result rather of 
the exigency of the student and the proselytising activity to 
which they were exposed, than of any distinct vocation for 
the monastic life, or of their own deliberate choice. " Minors 
and children," as Fuller says in his usual quaint vein, "agree 
very well together." To such an extent at any rate had the 
evil spread at Oxford that, in a preamble of a statute passed 
in 1358, it is asserted, as a notorious fact, that "the nobility 
and commoners alike were deterred from sending their sons 
to the University by this very cause ; and it was enacted that 
if any mendicant should induce, or cause to be induced, any 
member of the University under eighteen years of age to join 
the said Friars, or should in any way assist in his abduction, 
no graduate belonging to the cloister or society of which such 
friar was a member should be permitted to give or attend 
lectures in Oxford or elsewhere for the year ensuing." 1 It 
is not perhaps, therefore, surprising to find that the earliest 
English Collegiate foundation — that of Walter de Merton at 
Oxford in 1264 — should have expressly excluded all members 
of the religious Orders. The dangers involved in the ascen- 
dency of the monks and friars were already patent to many 
sagacious minds, and Bishop Walter de Merton, who had 
filled the high office of Chancellor of England, and was already 
by his position an adversary of the Franciscan interest, was 

1 Anstey, Munimenta Academiea, i. pp. 204-5. 



evidently desirous of establishing an institution which should 
not only baffle that encroaching spirit of Rome which had 
startled Grosseteste from his allegiance, but should also give 
an impulse to a system of education which should not be sub- 
servient to purely ecclesiastical ideas. This is obviously the 
principle which underlies the provisions of the statutes of 
his foundation of Merton College. Bishop Hobhouse in his 
Life of Walter de Merton has thus carefully interpreted this 
principle : — 

" Our founder's object 1 conceive to have been to secure for his 
own order in the Church, for the secular priesthood, the academical 
benefit which the religious orders were so largely enjoying, and to this 
end I think all his provisions are found to be consistently framed. 
He borrowed from the monastic institutions the idea of an aggregate 
body, living by common rule, under a common head, provided with 
all things needful for a corporate and perpetual life, fed by its secured 
endowments, fenced from all external interference, except that of its 
lawful patron ; but after borrowing thus much, he differenced his 
institution by giving his beneficiaries quite a distinct employment, and 
keeping them free from all those perpetual obligations which con- 
stituted the essence of the religious life. . . . His beneficiaries are 
from the first designated as Scholares in scholis iegentes ; their employ- 
ment was study, not what was technically called ' the religious life T 
(i.e., the life of a monk). . . . He forbade his scholars even to take 
vows, they were to keep themselves free of every other institution, to 
render no one else's obsequium. He looked forward to their going 
forth to labour in secu/o, and acquiring preferment and property. . . . 
Study being the function of the inmates of his house, their time was 
not to be taken up by ritual or ceremonial duties, for which special 
chaplains were appointed ; neither was it to be bestowed on any 
handicrafts, as in some monastic orders. Voluntary poverty was not 



enjoined, though poor circumstances were a qualification for a fellow- 
ship. No austerity was required, though contentment with simple 
fare was enforced as a duty, and the system of enlarging the number 
of inmates according to the means of the house was framed to keep 
the allowance to each at the very moderate rate which the founder 
fixed. The proofs of his design to benefit the Church through a 
better educated secular priesthood are to be found, not in the letter of 
their statutes, but in the tenour of their provisions, especially as to 
studies, in the direct averments of some of the subsidiary documents, 
in the fact of his providing Church patronage as part of his system, 
and in the readiness of prelates and chapters to grant him impropria- 
tion of the rectorial endowments of the Church." 

Such was the Regula Mertonensis, the Rule of Merton, 
as it came to be called, which served as the model for so 
many subsequent statutes. 

This Regula Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely (1257- 
1286), evidently had before him, when, some twenty years 
after his consecration to the bishopric, he proceeded, by 
giving a new form to an earlier benefaction of his own, 
to open a new chapter in the history of the University of 

Hugh de Balsham, before his elevation to the bishopric, 
had been sub-prior of the Ely monastery, and at first sight 
therefore it might seem a little surprising that he should 
have thought of encouraging a system of education which 
was not to be subject to the monastic rule. But Hugh de 
Balsham was a Benedictine monk, and the Benedictines in 
England at this time were the upholders of a less stringent 
and ascetic discipline than that of the mendicant Orders, and 



were, in fact, endeavouring in every way to counteract their 
influence. It had been the aim of Bishop Balsham, in the 
first instance, to endeavour to bring about a kind of fusion 
between the old and the new elements in university life, 
between the Regulars and the Seculars. But this first effort 
was not fortunate. About the year 1280 he introduced a 
body of secular scholars into the ancient Hospital of S. John. 
This Hospital of the Brethren of S. John the Evangelist 
had been founded, in the year 1 1 35, by Henry Frost, 
a wealthy and charitable burgess of the city, and placed 
under the management of a body of regular canons of the 
Augustinian Order. At a somewhat later time, Bishop 
Eustace, the fifth Bishop of Ely, added largely by his 
benefactions to the importance of the house. It was he 
who appropriated to the Hospital the Church of S. Peter 
without the Trumpington Gate. Hugh of Northwold, the 
eighth bishop, is said, at least by one authority, to have 
placed some secular scholars there, who devoted themselves 
to academical study rather than to the services of the 
Church, and he certainly obtained for the Hospital certain 
exemptions from taxation in connection with their two 
hostels near S. Peter's Church. The endowment of the 
secular students was still further cared for by Bishop Hugh 
de Balsham. In the preamble to certain letters patent of 
Edward I. (1280) authorising the settlement, the Bishop, 
after a wordy comparison, in mediaeval phrase, of King 
Edward's wisdom with that of King Solomon, is credited 
with the intention of introducing " into the dwelling place 



of the secular brethren of his Hospital of S. John studious 
scholars who shall in everything live together as students 
in the University of Cambridge, according to the rule of 
the scholars of Oxford who are called of Merton." 1 This 
document fixes the date of the royal license, on which 
there can be little doubt that action was immediately taken. 
The change of system was most unpalatable to the original 
foundationers and led to unappeasable dissension. The 
regulars, it may be conjectured, were absorbed in their 
religious services and in the performance of the special 
charitable offices of the Hospital ; while the scholars were, 
doubtless, eager to be instructed in the Latin authors, in 
the new Theology, in the civil and the canon law, perhaps 
in the "new Aristotle," which at this time was beginning 
to excite so much enthusiasm among western scholars. 
Anyhow, the two elements were too dissimilar to combine. 
Differences arose, feuds and jealousies sprang up, and 
eventually the good bishop found himself under the neces- 
sity of separating the Ely scholars from the Brethren of 
the Hospital. This he did by transplanting the scholars 
to the two hostels (Jiospicia) adjoining the Church of 
S. Peter without the Trumpington Gate, assigning to 
them the church itself and certain revenues belonging to 
it, inclusive of the tithes of the church mills. This was 
in the year 1284, and marks the foundation of Peterhouse 
as the earliest of Cambridge colleges. The Hospital of 
S. John, thus freed from the scholarly element, went 

1 " Commiss. Docts.," ii. i. 



quietly on its career, to become, as we shall see later, the 
nucleus of the great foundation of S. John's College. It 
may have been a disappointment to Bishop Hugh that 
he had not been able to fuse together the two dissimilar 
elements — " the scholars too wise, and the brethren possibly 
over-good " — in one corporation. But, as Baker, the his- 
torian of S. John's College, has said : " Could he but have 
foreseen that this broken and imperfect society was to give 
birth to two great and lasting foundations, he would have 
had much joy in his disappointment." 

In the year 1 309 the new foundation of "the Scholars 
of the Bishops of Ely" obtained certain adjoining property 
hitherto occupied by the Friars of the Sack (De Penetentia 
yesu),an Order doomed to extinction by the Council of Lyons 
in 1274. Its slender resources were further added to on the 
death of its founder by his bequest of 300 marks for the erec- 
tion of new buildings. With this sum a considerable area to 
the west and south of the original hostels was acquired, and a 
handsome hall [aidam perpulchram) was built. This hall is 
substantially the building still in use. It was left, however, 
to his successor in the Bishopric of Ely, Simon Montagu 
(1 337-1 345), to give to the new college its first code of 
statutes. Bishop Simon, one is glad to think, did not forget 
the good intentions of Bishop Hugh, for in his code of statutes, 
dated April 1344, he thus speaks of his predecessor : — 

" Desirous for the weal of his soul while he dwelt in this vale 
of tears, and to provide wholesomely, as far as in him lay, for 
poor persons wishing to make themselves proficient in the know- 



ledge of letters, by securing to them a proper maintenance, he 
rounded a house or College for the public good in our University 
of Cambridge, with the consent of King Edward and his beloved 
sons, the prior and chapter of our Cathedral, all due requirements 
of law being observed ; which House he desired to be called the 
House of S. Peter or the Hall {aula) of the scholars of the 
Bishops of Ely at Cambridge ; and he endowed it and made ordinances 
for it {in aliquibus ordinavit) so far as he was then able ; but not 
as he intended and wished to do, as we hear, had not death frus- 
trated his intention. In this House he willed that there should be 
one master and as many scholars as could be suitably maintained 
for the possessions of the house itself in a lawful manner." ' 

There can be little doubt that the statutes which Bishop 
Montagu gave to the college represent the wishes of his 
predecessor, for the Peterhouse statutes are actually modelled 
on the fourth of the codes of statutes given by Merton to his 
college, and dated 1 274. The formula " ad instar Aulce de 
Merton " is a constantly recurring phrase in Montagu's statutes. 
The true principle of collegiate endowments could not be 
more plainly stated, and certainly these statutes may be re- 
garded as the embodiment of the earliest conception of college 
life and discipline at Cambridge. A master and fourteen 
perpetual fellows, 2 " studiously engaged in the pursuit of 
literature," represent the body supported on the foundation ; 

1 " Documents," ii. 78. 

2 The actual expression is, of course, scholares, but it is best to translate the word 
by the later title of fellows to avoid the erroneous impression which would otherwise be 
given. That the scholares were occasionally called fellows even in Chaucer's day may be 
inferred from his lines — 

" Oure corne is stole, men woll us fooles call, 
Both the warden and our fellowes all." 

8l L 


the " pensioner " of later times being, of course, at this period 
provided for already by the hostel. In case of a vacancy 
among the Fellows " the most able bachelor in logic " is 
designated as the one on whom, cceteris paribus, the election 
is to fall, the other requirement being that, " so far as human 
frailty admit, he be honourable, chaste, peaceable, humble, 
and modest." " The Scholars of Ely " were bound to devote 
themselves to the " study of Arts, Aristotle, Canon Law, 
Theology," but, as at Merton, the basis of a sound Liberal 
Education was to be laid before the study of theology was to 
be entered upon ; two were to be admitted to the study of 
the civil and the canon law, and one to that of medicine. 
When any Fellow was about to " incept " in any faculty, it 
devolved upon the master with the rest of the Fellows to 
inquire in what manner he had conducted himself and gone 
through his exercises in the schools, how long he had heard 
lectures in the faculty in which he was about to incept, and 
whether he had gone through the forms according to the 
statutes of the university. The sizar of later times is recog- 
nised in the provision, that if the funds of the Foundation 
permit, the master and the two deacons shall select two or 
three youths, " indigent scholars well grounded in Latin " — 
juvenes indigentes scholares in grammatica notabl/iter fundatos — to 
be maintained, " as long as may seem fit," by the college alms, 
such poor scholars being bound to attend upon the master and 
fellows in church, on feast days and other ceremonial occa- 
sions, to serve the master and fellows at seasonable times at 

table and in their rooms. All meals were to be partaken in 



common ; but it would seem that this regulation was intended 
rather to conduce towards an economical management than 
enacted in any spirit of studied conformity to monastic life, 
for, adds the statute, " the scholars shall patiently support this 
manner of living until their means shall, under God's favour, 
have received more plentiful increase." l 

An interesting feature in these statutes is the regulation 
with regard to the distinctive dress of the student, showing 
how little regard was paid at this period, even when the 
student was a priest, to the wearing of a costume which 
might have been considered appropriate to the staid character 
of his profession. 

" The Students," writes Mr. Cooper, 2 " disdaining the tonsure, 
the distinctive mark of their order, wore their hair either hanging 
down on their shoulders in an effeminate manner, or curled and 
powdered : they had long beards, and their apparel more resembled 
that of soldiers than of priests ; they were attired in cloaks with 
furred edges, long hanging sleeves not covering their elbows, shoes 
chequered with red and green and tippets of an unusual length ; 
their fingers were decorated with rings, and at their waists they 
wore large and costly girdles, enamelled with figures and gilt ; to the 
girdles hung knives like swords." 

In order to repress this laxity and want of discipline, 
Archbishop Stratford, at a later period in the year 1342, 
issued an order that no student of the university, unless 
he should reform his " person and apparel," should receive 
any ecclesiastical degree or honour. It was doubtless in 

1 Document II. 1-42, quoted from Mullinger's "University of Cambridge," i. 232. 

2 "Annals of the University," i. 95. 



reference to some such order as this that one of the statutes 
of Peterhouse ran to this effect : — 

" Inasmuch as the dress, demeanour, and carriage of scholars 
are evidences of themselves, and by such means it is seen more 
clearly, or may be presumed what they themselves are internally, 
we enact and ordain, that the master and all and each of the scholars 
of our house shall adopt the clerical dress and tonsure, as becomes 
the condition of each, and wear it conformally in respect, as far 
as they conveniently can, and not allow their beard or their hair 
to grow contrary to canonical prohibition, nor wear rings upon their 
fingers for their own vain glory and boasting, and to the pernicious 
example and scandal of others." 1 

"The Philosophy of Clothes," especially in its application 
to the mediaeval universities, is no doubt an interesting one, 
and may even — so, at least, it is said by some authori- 
ties — throw much light upon the relations of the univer- 
sities to the Church. The whole subject is discussed in 
some detail in the chapter on " Student Life in the Middle 
Ages," in Mr. Rashdall's " History of the Universities of 
Europe," to which, perhaps, it may be best to refer those 
of our readers who are desirous of tracing the various 
steps in the gradual evolution of modern academic dress 
from the antique forms. There it will be seen how the 
present doctor's scarlet gown was developed from the 
magisterial " cappa " or " cope," a sleeveless scarlet cloak, 
lined with miniver, with tippet and hood attached of the 
same material — a dress which, in its original shape, is 
now only to be seen in the Senate House at Cambridge, 

1 "Documents," ii. 72. 



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worn by the Vice-Chancellor on Degree days ; how the 
present gown and hood of the Master of Arts and Bachelor 
is merely a development of the ordinary clerical dress or 
" tabard " of the thirteenth century, which, however, was 
not even exclusively clerical, and certainly not distinguished 
by that sobriety of hue characteristic of modern clerical 
tailordom — clerkly prejudice in the matter of the " tabard " 
running in favour of green, blue, or blood red ; and how 
the modern " mortar-board," or square college cap, — now 
usurped by undergraduates, and even choristers and school- 
boys — was originally the distinctive badge of a Master of 
Faculty, being either a square cap or " biretta," with a 
tuft on the top, in lieu of the very modern tassel, or a 
round cap or " pileum," more or less resembling the velvet 
caps still worn by the Yeomen of the Guard, or on very 
state occasions by the Cambridge or Oxford doctors in 
medicine or law. The picturesque dress of university 
students of the thirteenth century, still surviving in the 
long blue coat and yellow stockings, and red leather girdle 
and white bands of the boys of Christ's Hospital, is suffi- 
cient to show how much we have lost of the warmth and 
colour of mediaeval life by the almost universal change to 
sombre black in clerical or student costume, brought about 
by the Puritan austerity of the sixteenth century. 

To return to the fabric of Bishop Hugh de Balsham's 
College. We have seen how a handsome hall (aulam 
perpulchram) was built with the 300 marks of the Bishop's 
legacy. This is substantially the building of five bays, 



which still exists, forming the westernmost part of the 
south side of the Great Court of the College. The three 
easternmost bays are taken up by the dining-hall or 
refectory, the westernmost is devoted to the buttery, the 
intervening bay is occupied by the screens and passage, 
at either end of which there still remain the original north 
and south doorways, interesting as being the earliest example 
of collegiate architecture in Cambridge. The windows of 
this hall on the south side date from the end of the 
fifteenth century. The north-east oriel window and the 
buttresses on the north side of the hall were added by 
Sir Gilbert Scott in 1870, who also built the new screen, 
panelling, and roof. At about the same time the hall 
was decorated and the windows filled with stained glass 
of very great beauty by William Morris. The figures 
represented in the windows are as follows (beginning from 
the west on the north side) : John Whitgift, John Cosin, 
Rd. Tresham, Thos. Gray, Duke of Grafton, Henry Caven- 
dish ; in the oriel — Homer, Aristotle, Cicero, Hugh de 
Balsham, Roger Bacon, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton ; 
on the south side — Edward I., Queen Eleanor, Hugh de 
Balsham, S. George, S. Peter, S. Etheldreda, John Hol- 
broke, Henry Beaufort, John Warkworth. 

After the building of this hall, the College evidently 
languished for want of funds for more than a century. But 
in the fifteenth century the College began to prosper, and 
a good deal of building was done. The character of the 

work is not expressly stated in the Bursar's Rolls — of which 



there are some thirty-one still existing of the fifteenth 
century, and a fairly complete set of the subsequent cen- 
turies — but the earliest buildings of this date are probably 
the range of chambers forming the north and west side of 
the great court. The kitchen, which is immediately to 
the west of the hall, dates from 1450. The Fellows' 
parlour or combination room, completing the third side 
of the quadrangle, and immediately east of the dining-hall, 
was built some ten years later. 

Cole has given the following precise description of this 
room : — 

"This curious old room joins immediately to the east end of 
the dining-hall or refectory, and is a ground floor called The 
Stone Parlour, on the south side of the Quadrangle, between the 
said hall and the master's own lodge. It is a large room and 
wainscotted with small oblong Panels. The two upper rows of 
which are filled with paintings on board of several of the older 
Masters and Benefactors to the College. Each picture has an 
Inscription in the corner, and on a separate long Panel under each, 
much ornamented with painting, is a Latin Distic. 1 . . ." 

Then follows a description of each portrait — there are 
thirty in all — with its accompanying distich. As an ex- 
ample, we may give that belonging to the portrait of 
Dr. Andrew Perne : — 

Bibliotheca; Libri Redditus pulcherrima Dona Perne, 
pium Musiste, Philomuse, probant. 

Andreas Perne, Doctor Tbeol. Decanus Eccles/ce El/ensis, 
Magister Col legit, obiit 26 Apr His, Anno Dom. 1573. 

1 British Museum, Cole, MSS. xxxv. 112. 



These panel portraits were removed from their .frame- 
work in the eighteenth century, and framed and hung in the 
master's lodge, but have since been re-hung for the most 
part in the college hall, and their Latin distichs restored 
according to Cole's record of them. The windows of the 
combination room have been filled with stained glass by 
William Morris, representing ten ideal women from Chaucer's 
" Legend of Good Women." 

On the upper storey of the combination room was 
the master's lodge. The situation of these rooms at the 
upper end of the hall is almost as invariable in collegiate 
plans as that of the buttery and kitchen at the other end. 
The same may be said of that most picturesque feature of 
the turret staircase leading from the master's rooms to the 
hall, parlour, and garden, which we shall find repeated in 
the plans of S. John's, Christ's, Queens,' and Pembroke 
Colleges. About the same period (1450) the range of 
chambers on the north side of the court was at its 
easternmost end connected by a gallery with the Church 
of S. Mary, which remained in use as the College chapel 
down to the seventeenth century. This gallery, on the 
level of the upper floor of the College chambers, was 
carried on arches so as not to obstruct the entrance to the 
churchyard and south porch from the High Street, by a 
similar arrangement to that which from the first existed 
between Corpus Christi College and the ancient Church 
of S. Benedict. 

The Parish Church of S. Peter, without the Trump- 


ington Gate, had from the first been used as the College 
Chapel of Peterhouse. Indeed, the earliest college in Cam- 
bridge was the latest to possess a private chapel of its own, 
which was not built until 1628. All that remains, however, 
of the old Church of S. Peter is a fragment of the tower, 
standing at the north-west corner of the present building 
and the arch which led from it into the church. This 
probably marks the west end of the old church, which, no 
doubt, was much shorter than the present one. It is said 
that this old church fell down in part about 1 340, and a 
new church was at once begun in its place. This was 
finished in 1 352 and dedicated to the honour of the blessed 
Virgin Mary. The church is a very beautiful one, though 
of an unusual simplicity of design. It is without aisles or 
any structural division between nave and chancel. It is 
lighted by lofty windows and deep buttresses. On the 
south side and at the eastern gable are rich flowing 
decorated windows, the tracery of which is designed in 
the same style, and in many respects with the same patterns, 
as those of Alan de Walsingham's Lady Chapel at Ely. 
Indeed, a comparison of the Church of Little S. Mary with 
the Ely Lady Chapel, not only in its general conception, 
but in many of its details, such as that of the stone taber- 
nacles on the outer face of the eastern gable curiously 
connected with the tracery of the window, would lead a 
careful observer to the conclusion that both churches had 
been planned by the same architect. The change of the 

old name of the church from S. Peter to that of S. Mary 

89 M 


the Virgin is also, in this relation, suggestive. For we 
must remember that it was built at a time — the age of 
Dante and Chaucer — when Catholic purity, in the best 
natures united to the tenderness of chivalry, was casting 
its glamour over poetic and artistic minds, and had already 
led to the establishment in Italy of an Order — the Cavalieri 
Godenti — pledged to defend the existence, or, more accurately 
perhaps, the dignity of the Virgin Mary, by the establish- 
ment everywhere throughout western Europe of Lady 
Chapels in her honour. Whether Alan de Walsingham, the 
builder of the Ely Lady Chapel, and the builder of the 
Church of Little S. Mary at Cambridge — if he was not 
Alan — belonged to this Order of the Cavaliers of S. Mary, 
we cannot say ; but at least it seems probable that the 
Cambridge Church sprang from the same impulse which 
inspired the magnificent stone poem in praise of S. Mary, 
built by the sacrist of Ely. 

At this period Peterhouse consisted of two courts, separated 
by a wall occupying the position of the present arcade at the 
west end of the chapel. The westernmost or principal court 
is, save in some small details, that which we see to-day. The 
small eastern court next to the street has undergone great 
alteration by the removal of certain old dwelling-houses — 
possibly relics of the original hostels — fronting the street, 
which left an open space, occupied at a later period partly by 
the chapel and by the extension eastward of the buildings on 
the south side of the great court to form a new library, and 

subsequently by a similar flanking extension on the north. 



The earliest of these buildings was the library, due to a 
bequest of Dr. Andrew Perne, Dean of Ely, who was master 
of the College from 1553 to 1589, and who not only left to 
the society his own library, " supposed to be the worthiest in 
all England," but sufficient property for the erection of a 
building to contain it. Perne had gained in early life a 
position of importance in the University — he had been a 
fellow of both S. John's and of Queen's, bursar of the latter 
College and five times vice-chancellor of the University — but 
his success in life was mainly due to his pliancy in matters of 
religion. In Henry's reign he had publicly maintained the 
Roman doctrine of the adoration of pictures of Christ and the 
Saints ; in Edward VI. 's he had argued in the University 
pulpit against transubstantiation ; in Queen Mary's, on his 
appointment to the mastership of Peterhouse, he had formally 
subscribed to the fully defined Roman articles then promul- 
gated ; in Queen Elizabeth's he had preached a Latin sermon 
in denunciation of the Pope, and had been complimented 
for his eloquence by the Queen herself. No wonder that 
immediately after his death in 1590 he should be hotly 
denounced in the Martin Marprelate tracts as the friend of 
Archbishop Whitgift, and as the type of fickleness and lack 
of principle which the authors considered characteristic of 
the Established Church. Other writers of the same school 
referred to him as " Old Andrew Turncoat," " Old Father 
Palinode," and "Judas." The undergraduates of Cambridge, 
it is said, invented in his honour a new Latin verb, pernare, 
which they translated " to turn, to rat, to change often." 



It became proverbial in the University to speak of a cloak 
or a coat which had been turned as " perned," and finally 
the letters on the weathercock of S. Peter's, A. P. A. P., 
might, said the satirists, be interpreted as Andrew Perne, a 
Protestant, or Papist, or Puritan. However, it is much to be 
able to say that he was the tutor and friend of Whitgirt, 
protecting him in early days from the persecution of Cardinal 
Pole ; it is something also to remember that he was uniformly 
steadfast in his allegiance to his College, bequeathing to it his 
books, with minute directions for their chaining and safe 
custody, providing for their housing, and moreover, endowing 
two college fellowships and six scholarships ; and perhaps 
charity might prompt us to add, that at a time when the 
public religion of the country changed four times in ten years, 
Perne probably trimmed in matters of outward form that he 
might be at hand to help in matters which he truly thought 
were really essential. 

The Perne Library at Peterhouse has no special architec- 
tural features of any value ; its main interest in that respect is 
to be found in the picturesque gable-end with oriel window 
overhanging the street, bearing above it the date 1633, which 
belongs to the brickwork extension westward at that date of 
the original stone building. The building of the library, how- 
ever, preluded a period of considerable architectural activity 
in the College, due largely to the energy of Dr. Matthew 
Wren, who was master from 1625 to 1634. It is recorded of 
him that "seeing the public offices of religion less decently 

performed, and the services of God depending upon the 



services of others, for want of a convenient oratory within the 
walls of the college," he began in 1629 to build the present 
chapel. It was consecrated in 1632. The name of the archi- 
tect is not recorded. The chapel was connected as at present 
with the buildings on either side by galleries carried on open 
arcades. Dr. Cosin, who succeeded Wren in the mastership, 
continued the work, facing the chapel walls, which had been 
built roughly in brick, with stone. An elaborate ritual 
was introduced into the chapel by Cosin, who, it will be 
remembered, was a friend and follower of Archbishop Laud. 
A Puritan opponent of Cosin has written bitterly that " in 
Peter House Chappell there was a glorious new altar set up 
and mounted on steps, to which the master, fellows, and 
schollers bowed, and were enjoyned to bow by Dr. Cosens, the 
master, who set it up ; that there were basons, candlesticks, 
tapers standing on it, and a great crucifix hanging over 
it . . . and on the altar a pot, which they usually call the 
incense pot. . . . And the common report both among the 
schollers of that House and others, was that none might 
approach to the altar in Peter House but in sandalls." 1 

It is not surprising, therefore, to read at a little later date 
in the diary of the Puritan iconoclast, William Dowsing : — 

"We went to Peterhouse, 1643, Decemb. 21, with officers and 
souldiers and ... we pulled down 2 mighty great Angells with 
wings and divers others Angells and the 4 Evangelists and Peter, 
with his keies, over the Chapell dore and about a hundred chirubims 
and Angells and divers superstitious Letters . . ." 

1 Prynne, " Canterbury's Doom," quoted from Willis and Clark, i. 46. 



These to-day are all things of the past. The interior of 
the chapel is fitted partly with the genuine old mediaeval 
panelling, possibly brought from the parochial chancel of 
Little S. Mary's, or from its disused chantries, now placed at 
the back of the stalls, and in front of the organ gallery, partly 
with oakwork, stalls and substalls, in the Jacobaean style. The 
present altar-piece is of handsome modern wainscot. The 
entrance door is mediaeval, probably removed from elsewhere 
to replace the doorway defaced by Dowsing. The only 
feature in the chapel which can to-day be called — and that 
only by a somewhat doubtful taste — " very magnifical," is 
the gaudy Munich stained-glass work inserted in the lateral 
windows, as a memorial to Professor Smythe, in 1855 and 
1858. The subjects are, on the north side, "The Sacrifice 
of Isaac," " The Preaching of S. John the Baptist," " The 
Nativity " ; and on the south side, " The Resurrection," " The 
Healing of a Cripple by SS. Peter and John," " S. Paul before 
Agrippa and Festus." The east window, containing " The 
History of Christ's Passion," is said by Blomefield to have 
been " hid in the late troublesome times in the very boxes 
which now stand round the altar instead of rails." 




" High potentates and dames of royal birth 
And mitred fathers in long order go." — Gray. 

The Fourteenth Century an Age of Great Men and Great Events but not of 
Great Scholars — Petrarch and Richard of Bury — Michael House — The 
King's Scholars — King's Hall — Clare Hall — Pembroke College — Gonville 
Hall — Dr. John Caius — His Three Gates of Humility, Virtue, and 

THE dates of the foundation of the two Colleges, Clare 
and Pembroke, which, after an interval of some fifty 
and seventy years respectively, followed that of Peter- 
house, and the names of Lady Elizabeth, Countess 
of Clare, and of Marie de Valence, Countess of Pembroke, 
who are associated with them, remind us that we have 
reached the troublous and romantic time which marked the 
close of the long and varied reign of the Great Edward, and 
was the seed-time of those influences which ripened during 
the longer and still more varied reign of Edward III. 
Between the year 1326, which was the date of the first 
foundation of Clare College, the date also of the deposition 
and murder of Edward II., and the year 1348, which is the 
date of the foundation of Pembroke and the twenty-first year 



of Edward III., the distracted country had passed through 
many vicissitudes. It had seen the great conflict of parties 
under the leadership of the great houses of Lancaster, 
Gloucester, and Pembroke, culminating in the king's de- 
position and in the rise of the power of the English Parlia- 
ment, and in its division into the two Houses of Lords and 
Commons. It had seen the growth of the new class of 
landed gentry, whose close social connection with the baronage 
on the one hand, and of equally close political connection with 
the burgesses on the other, had welded the three orders 
together, and had given to the Parliament that unity of 
action and feeling on which its powers have ever since mainly 
depended. It had seen the Common Law rise into the dignity 
of a science and rapidly become a not unworthy rival of 
Imperial Jurisprudence. It had seen the close of the great 
interest of Scottish warfare, and the northern frontier of 
England carried back to the old line of the Northumbrian 
kings. It had seen the strife with France brought to what 
at the moment seemed to be an end, for the battle of Crecy, 
at which the power of the English chivalry was to teach the 
world the lesson which they had learned from Robert Bruce 
thirty years before at Bannockburn, was still in the future, 
as also was the Hundred Years' War of which that battle was 
the prelude. It had seen the scandalous schism of the Western 
Church, and the vision of a Pope at Rome, and another Pope 
at Avignon, awakening in the mind of the nations an entirely 
new set of thoughts and feelings with regard to the position 

of both the Papacy and the Church. The early fourteenth 



century was indeed an age of great events and of great men ; 
but it was not an age, at least as far as England was concerned, 
of great scholars. There was no Grosseteste in the fourteenth 
century. Petrarch, the typical man of letters, the true 
inspirer of the classical Renaissance, and in a sense the 
founder of really modern literature, was a great scholar and 
humanist, but he had no contemporary in England who 
could be called an equal or a rival. His one English friend, 
Richard of Bury, Bishop of Durham, book lover as he was — 
for his Philobiblon we all owe him a debt of gratitude — was 
after all only an ardent amateur and no scholar. When 
Petrarch had applied to Richard for some information as to 
the geography of the Thule of the ancients, the Bishop had 
put him off with the statement that he had not his books 
with him, but would write fully on his return home. Though 
more than once reminded of his promise, he left the dis- 
appointed poet without an answer. The fact was, that 
Richard was not so learned that he could afford to confess 
his ignorance. He corresponds, in fact, to the earlier 
humanists of Italy — men who collected manuscripts and saw 
the possibilities of learning, though they were unable to attain 
to it themselves. There is much in his Philobiblon of the 
greatest interest, as, for example, his description of the means 
by which he had collected his library at Durham College, and 
his directions to students for its careful use, but despite his 
own fervid love and somewhat rhetorical praise of learning, 
there is still a certain personal pathos in the expression of his 
own impatience with the ignorance and superficiality of the 

97 n 


younger students of his day. Writing in the Philobiblon of the 
prevalent characteristics of Oxford at this time, he writes : — 

" Forasmuch as (the students) are not grounded in their first 
rudiment at the proper time, they build a tottering edifice on an 
insecure foundation, and then when grown up they are ashamed 
to learn that which they should have acquired when of tender 
years, and thus must needs even pay the penalty of having too 
hastily vaulted into the possession of authority to which they had 
no claim. For these and like reasons, our young students fail to 
gain by their scanty lucubrations that sound learning to which the 
ancients attained, however they may occupy honourable posts, be 
called by titles, be invested with the garb of office, or be solemnly 
inducted into the seats of their seniors. Snatched from their cradle 
and hastily weaned, they get a smattering of the rules of Priscian 
and Donatus ; in their teens and beardless they chatter childishly 
concerning the Categories and the Perihermenias in the composition 
of which Aristotle spent his whole soul." 1 

It is to be feared that the decline of learning, which at 
this period was characteristic, as we thus see, of Oxford, 
was equally characteristic of Cambridge. Certainly there was 
no scholar there of the calibre of William of Ockham, or 
even of Richard of Bury, or of the Merton Realist, Brad- 
wardine, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. It is not 
indeed until more than a century later, when we have 
reached the age of Wycliffe, the first of the reformers and 
the last of the schoolmen, that the name of any Cambridge 
scholar emerges upon the page of history. 

But meanwhile the collegiate system of the University 

1 Philobiblon, c. 9. 

■ . - 


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■ § 

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•• * 

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m ■ 


was slowly being developed. Some forty years after the 
foundation of Peterhouse, in the year 1324, Hervey de 
Stanton, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Canon of Bath 
and Wells, obtained from Edward II. permission to found 
at Cambridge the College of " the Scholars of St. Michael." 
The college itself, Michaelhouse, has long been merged in 
the great foundation of Trinity, but its original statutes 
still exist and show that they were conceived in a some- 
what less liberal spirit than that of the code of Hugh de 
Balsham. The monk and the friar are excluded from the 
society, but the Rule of Merton is not mentioned. Two 
years afterwards, in 1326, we find thirty-two scholars known 
as the "King's Scholars" maintained at the University by 
Edward II. It seems probable that it had been the in- 
tention of the King in this way to encourage the study 
of the civil and the canon law, for books on these 
subjects were presented by him, presumably for the use of 
the scholars, to Simon de Bury their warden, and were 
subsequently taken away at the command of Queen Isabella. 
The King had also intended to provide a hall of residence for 
these " children of our chapel," but the execution of this 
design of establishing a " King's Hall " was left to his son 
Edward III. The poet Gray, in his " Installation Ode," 
has represented Edward III. — 

" Great Edward with the lilies on his brow, 
From haughty Gallia torn," 

in virtue of his foundation of King's Hall, which was 
subsequently absorbed in the greater society, as the founder 



of Trinity College. But the honour evidently belongs with 
more justice to his father. It was, however, by Edward 
III. that the Hall was built near the Hospital of S. John, 
" to the honour of God, the Blessed Virgin, and all the 
Saints, and for the soul of the Lord Edward his father, 
late King of England, of famous memory, and the souls 
of Philippa, Queen of England, his most dear consort, and 
of his children and progenitors." 

The statutes of King's Hall give an interesting contem- 
porary picture of collegiate life. The preamble moralises 
upon "the unbridled weakness of humanity, prone by nature 
and from youth to evil, ignorant how to abstain from things 
unlawful, easily falling into crime." It is required that each 
scholar on his admission be proved to be of " good and 
reputable conversation." He is not to be admitted under 
fourteen years of age. His knowledge of Latin must be 
such as to qualify him for the study of logic, or of what- 
ever other branch of learning the master shall decide, upon 
examination of his capacity, he is best fitted to follow. 
The scholars were provided with lodging, food, and cloth- 
ing. The sum allowed for the weekly maintenance of a 
King's scholar was fourteen pence, an unusually liberal 
allowance for weekly commons, suggesting the idea that 
the foundation was probably designed for students of the 
wealthier class, an indication which is further borne out 
by the prohibitions with respect to the frequenting of 
taverns, the introduction of dogs within the College pre- 

1 Cooper's "Memorials," ii. p. 196. 


cincts, the wearing of short swords and peaked shoes {contra 
honestatem clericalem), the use of bows, flutes, catapults, and 
the oft-repeated exhortation to orderly conduct. 

Following upon the establishment of Michaelhouse and 
King's Hall, in the year 1326 the University in its corporate 
capacity obtained a royal license to settle a body of scholars 
in two houses in Milne Street. This college was called 
University Hall, a title already adopted by a similar founda- 
tion at Oxford. The Chancellor of the University at the 
time was a certain Richard de Badew. The foundation, 
however, did not at first meet with much success. In 
1336 its revenues were found insufficient to support more 
than ten scholars. In 1338, however, we find Elizabeth de 
Burgh, Countess of Clare and granddaughter of Edward I., 
coming to the help of the struggling society. By the death 
of her brother, the Earl of Gloucester, at the battle of 
Bannockburn, leaving no issue, the whole of a very princely 
estate came into the possession of the Lady Clare and her 
two sisters. Having, by a deed dated 6th April 1338, 
received from Richard de Badew, who therein calls himself 
" Founder, Patron, and Advocate of the House called the 
Hall of the University of Cambridge," all the rights and 
titles of University Hall, the Lady Clare refounded it, and 
supplied the endowments which hitherto it had lacked. 
The name of the Hall was changed to Clare House (Domus 
de Clare). As early, however, as 1346 we find it styled 
Clare Hall, a name which it bore down to our own times, 

when, by resolution of the master and fellows in 1856, 



it was changed to Clare College. The following preamble 
to the statutes of the College, which were granted in 1359, 
is perhaps worthy of quotation as exhibiting, in spite of its 
quaint confusion of the " Pearl of Great Price " with " the 
Candle set upon a Candlestick," the pious and withal 
businesslike and sensible spirit of the foundress : — 

"To all the sons of our Holy Mother Church, who shall look 
into these pages, Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady de Clare, wishes health 
and remembrance of this transaction. Experience, which is the 
mistress of all things, clearly teaches that in every rank of life, as 
well temporal as ecclesiastical, a knowledge of literature is of no 
small advantage ; which though it is searched into by many persons 
in many different ways, yet in a University, a place that is distin- 
guished for the flourishing of general study, it is more completely 
acquired ; and after it has been obtained, she sends forth her 
scholars who have tasted its sweets, apt and suitable men in the 
Church of God and in the State, men who will rise to various ranks 
according to the measure of their deserts. Desiring therefore, since 
this consideration has come over us, to extend as far as God has 
allowed us, for the furtherance of Divine worship, and for the 
advance and good of the State, this kind of knowledge which in 
consequence of a great number of men having been taken away by 
the fangs of pestilence, is now beginning lamentably to fail ; we 
have turned the attention of our mind to the University of Cam- 
bridge, in the Diocese of Ely ; where there is a body of students, 
and to a Hall therein, hitherto commonly called University Hall, 
which already exists of our foundation, and which we would have 
to bear the name of the House of Clare and no other, for ever, 
and have caused it to be enlarged in its resources out of the wealth 
given us by God and in the number of students ; in order that 
the Pearl of Great Price, Knowledge, found and acquired by them 





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by means of study and learning in the said University, may not lie 
hid beneath a bushel, but be published abroad ; and by being 
published give light to those who walk in the dark paths of 
ignorance. And in order that the Scholars residing in our afore- 
said House of Clare, under the protection of a more steadfast peace 
and with the advantage of concord, may choose to engage with more 
free will in study, we have carefully made certain statutes and 
ordinances to last for ever." ' 

The distinguishing characteristic of these statutes is the 
great liberality they show in the requirements with respect 
to the professedly clerical element. This, as the preamble, 
in fact, suggests, was the result of a desire to fill up the 
terrible gap caused in the ranks of the clergy by the out- 
break of the Black Death, which first made its appearance 
in England in the year 1348, and caused the destruction 
of two and a half millions of the population in a single 
year. 2 

The Scholars or Fellows are to be twenty in number, 
of whom six are to be in priest's orders at the time of their 
admission. The remaining fellows are to be selected from 
bachelors or sophisters in arts, or from " skilful and well- 

1 Cooper's " Memorials," vol. i. p. 30. 

2 Cf. Rogers' " Six Centuries of Work and Wages," p. 224. "The disease made 
havoc among the secular and regular clergy, and we are told that a notable decline of 
learning and morals was thenceforward observed among the clergy, many persons of 
mean acquirements and low character stepping into the vacant benefices. Even now 
the cloister of Westminster Abbey is said to contain a monument in the great flat stone, 
which we are told was laid over the remains of the many monks who perished in the 
great death. . . . Some years ago, being at Cambridge while the foundations of the 
new Divinity Schools were being laid, I saw that the ground was full of skeletons, thrown 
in without any attempt at order, and I divined that this must have been a Cambridge 
plague pit." 

105 O 


conducted " civilians and canonists, but only two fellows 
may be civilians, and only one a canonist. The clauses 
relating to the scheme of studies are, moreover, apparently 
intended to discourage both these branches of law. 

Of the further progress of the College in the four- 
teenth and fifteenth centuries we have no record, for the 
archives perished in the fire which almost totally destroyed 
the early buildings in the year 1521. In the seventeenth 
century, shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, it 
was proposed to rebuild the whole College, but owing to 
the troubles of that time it was not until the beginning 
of the eighteenth century, in the year 171 5, that the work 
was finished. " The buildings are," said the late Professor 
Willis, " among the most beautiful, from their situation and 
general outline, that he could point out in the University." 

There is extant an amusing account of the controversy 
between Clare Hall and King's College, caused by the 
desire of the former to procure a certain piece of land 
for purposes of recreation on the east side of the Cam, 
called Butt Close, belonging to King's. Here are two of 
the letters which passed between the rival litigants. 

" The Answer [of 'Clare-Hall to Certaine Reasons of Kings College 

touching Bt/tt-Close. 

" 1. To the first we answer : — 1°. That y e annoyance of y e windes 
gathering betweene y = Chappell and our Colledge is farre greater and 
more detriment to y' Chappell, then any benefitt which they can 
imagine to receiue by y e shelter of our Colledge from wind and sunne. 

" 2°. That y e Colledge of Clare-hall being sett so neare as now it 



is, they will not only be sheltered from wind and sunne, but much 
deprived both of ayre and light. 

" 3 . That y e remove all of Clare Hall 70 feet westward will take 
away little or no considerable privacy from their gardens and walkes ; 
for y' one of their gardens is farre remote, and y e nearer fenced with a 
very high wall, and a vine spread upon a long frame, under which 
they doe and may privately walke." 

"A Reply of Kings Col/edge to y c Answer of Clare-Hall. 

" 1. The wind so gathering breeds no detriment to our Chappell, 
nor did ever putt us to any reparacions there. The upper battlements 
at the west end haue sometimes suffered from y e wind, but y' wind 
could not there be straightned by Clare-Hall, w ch scarce reacheth to 
y e fourth part of y e height. 

" 2°. No whit at all, for our lower story hath fewer windowes 
y' way : the other are so high y' Clare Hall darkens them not, and 
hath windows so large y' both for light and ayre no chambers in any 
Coll. exceed them. 

" 3 . The farther garden is not farre remote, being scarce 25 yards 
distant from their intended building ; y E nearer is on one side fenced 
with a high wall indeed, but y' wall is fraudulently alleaged by them, 
and beside y e purpose : for y' wall y' stands between their view and 
y e garden is not much aboue 6 feet in height : and y' we haue any 
vine or frame there to walke under is manifestly untrue." l 

However, the controversy was settled in favour of 
Clare Hall by a letter from the King. 

A tradition has long prevailed that Clare Hall was the 

College mentioned by the poet Chaucer in his " Reeve's 

Tale," in the lines — 

" And nameliche ther was a greet collegge, 
Men clepen the Soler-Halle at Cantebregge." 

1 Cf. Clarke, "Cambridge," pp. 85, 86. 


There appears, however, to be good reason for thinking that 
the Soler Hall was in reality Garrett Hostel, a soler or sun- 
chamber being the equivalent of a garret. For the tradi- 
tion also that Chaucer himself was a Clare man there is 
no authority. The College may well be satisfied with the 
list of authentic names of great men which give lustre 
to the roll of its scholars — Hugh Latimer, the reformer and 
fellow-martyr of Ridley ; Nicholas Ferrar, the founder of 
the religious community of Little Gidding ; Wheelock, 
the great Saxon and oriental scholar ; Ralph Cudworth, 
leader of the Cambridge Platonists ; Archbishop Tillotson 
and his pupil the philosopher, Thomas Burnett ; Whiston, 
the translator of "Josephus" ; Cole, the antiquary ; Maseres, 
the lawyer and mathematician. 

The foundation of Pembroke College, like that of Clare 
Hall, was also due to the private sorrow of a noble lady. 
The poet Gray, himself a Pembroke man, in the lines 
of his " Installation Ode," where he commemorates the 
founders of the university — 

" All that on Granta's fruitful plain 
Rich streams of roval bounty poured," 

speaks of this lady as 

"... sad Chatillon on her bridal morn, 
That wept her bleeding love." 

This is in allusion to the somewhat doubtful story thus 
told by Fuller — 

" Mary de Saint Paul, daughter to Guido Castillion, Earl of S. 
Paul in France, third wife to Audomare de Valentia, Earl of Pembroke, 








. I '.' 'C lis 

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1 SaC* 

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fet-- < 9 ! 


m i] 



_ • • -. 

- < 

- - 


maid, wife, and widow all in a day (her husband being unhappily 
slain at a tilting at her nuptials), sequestered herself on that sad 
accident from all 



worldly delights, 
bequeathed her 
soul to God, and 
her estate to 
pious uses, 
amongst which 
this is principal, 
that she founded 
in Cambridge 
the College of - 
Mary de Valen- 
tia, commonly 
called Pembroke 

All that authentic history re- 
cords is that the Earl of Pem- 
broke died suddenly whilst on a 
mission to the Court of France 
in June 1324. His widow ex- 
pended a large part of her 
very considerable fortune both ^ embrcke ^ 
in France and England on works 
of piety. In 1342 she founded 
the Abbey of Denny in Cam- 
bridgeshire for nuns of the 
Order of S. Clare. The Charter 

of Foundation of Pembroke College is dated 9th June 1348. 


v I i 



It is to be regretted that the earliest Rule given to the 
College, or to the Aula seu Domus de Valence Marie, the 
Hall of Valence Marie, as it was at first called, is not 
extant. A revised rule of the conjectural date of 1366, 
and another of perhaps not more than ten years later, 
furnished, however, the data upon which Dr. Ainslie, 
Master of the College from 1828 to 1870, drew up an 
abstract of its constitution and early history. 1 The most 
interesting feature of this constitution is the provision made 
in the first instance for the management of the College 
by the Franciscans, and its abolition on a later revision. 
According to the first code — " the head of the College 
was to be elected by the fellows, and to be distinguished 
by the title of the Keeper of the House. There were to 
be annually elected two rectors, the one a Friar Minor, 
the other a secular. This provision of the two rectors 
was abolished in the later code, and with it apparently all 
official connection between the College and the Franciscan 
Order, and it may be perhaps conjectured all association 
also with the sister foundation at Denny, concerning which 
the foundress, in her final Vale of the earlier code, had 
given to the fellows of the House of Valence Marie the 
following quaint direction, that " on all occasions they should 
give their best counsel and aid to the Abbess and Sisters 
of Denny, who had from her a common origin with 

The exact date at which the building of the College was 

1 Cf. Mullinger, "Cambridge," vol. i., footnote, p. 237. 


i El..* 
Vembifcke (alle&e 

°^ Oriel/ 5^E}ilr<Mice 

begun is not known, but it was probably not long after the 
purchase of the site in 1346. Many of the original buildings 
which remained down to 1874 were destroyed in the recon- 
struction of the College at that time. It is now only possible 

1 11 


to imagine many of the most picturesque features of that 
building, of which Queen Elizabeth, on her visit to Cam- 
bridge in 1564, enthusiastically exclaimed in passing, "O 
domus antiqua et religiosa ! " by consulting the print of the 
College published by Loggan about 1688. Of the interesting 
old features still left, we have the chapel at the corner of 
Trumpington Street and Pembroke Street, built in 1 360 and 
refaced in 1663, and the line of buildings extending down 
Pembroke Street to the new master's lodge and the Scott 
building of modern date. The old chapel has been used as 
a library since 1663, when the new chapel, whose west end 
abuts on Trumpington Street, was built by Sir Christopher 
Wren. The cloister, called Hitcham's Cloister, which joins 
the Wren Chapel to the fine old entrance gateway, and the 
Hitcham building 1 on the south side of the inner court, 
are dated 1666 and 1659 respectively. All the rest of the 
College is modern. 

The early foundation of Pembroke College had some 
connection, as we have seen, with the Franciscan Order. 
The early foundation of Gonville Hall, which followed that of 
Pembroke in 1348, had a somewhat similar connection with 
the Dominicans. Edward Gonville, its founder, was vicar- 
general of the diocese of Ely, and rector of Ferrington 
and Rushworth in Norfolk. In that county he had been 
instrumental in causing the foundation of a Dominican house 
at Thetford. Two years before his death he settled a master 

1 The poet Gray, it is said, occupied the rooms on the ground floor at the west 
end of the Hitcham building. Above them are those subsequently occupied by 
William Pitt. 



and two fellows in some tenements he had bought in Lute- 
burgh Lane, now called Free School Lane, on a site almost 
coinciding with the present master's garden of Corpus, and 
gave to his college the name of " the Hall of the An- 
nunciation of the Blessed Virgin." But he died in 1 3 5 1 , 
and left the completion of his design to his executor, Bishop 
Bateman of Norwich. Bateman removed Gonville Hall to 
the north-west corner of its present site, adjoining the "Hall 
of the Holy Trinity," which he was himself endowing at 
the same period. However, he too died within a few 
years, leaving both foundations immature. The statutes of 
both halls are extant, and exhibit an interesting contrast of 
ideal — the one that of a country parson of the fourteenth 
century, moved by the simple desire to do something for 
the encouragement of learning, and especially of theology, 
in the men of his own profession — the other that of a 
Bishop, a learned canonist and busy man of state, long 
resident at the Papal court at Avignon, regarded by the 
Pope as " the flower of civilians and canonists," desirous 
above all things by his College foundation of recruiting the 
ranks of his clergy, thinned by the Black Death, with men 
trained, as he himself had been, in the canon and civil 
law. It was the Bishop's ideal that triumphed. Gon- 
ville's statutes requiring an almost exclusively theological 
training for his scholars were abolished, and the course of 
study in the two halls assimilated, Bateman, as founder of 
the two societies, by a deed dated 1353, ratifying an agree- 
ment of fraternal affection and mutual help between the two 

113 p 


societies, as " scions of the same stock " ; assigning, however, 
the precedence to the members of Trinity Hall, " tanquam 
fratres prima geniti.'" l The fellows were by this agreement 
bound to live together in amity like brothers, to take 
counsel together in legal and other difficulties, to wear robes 
or cloaks of the same pattern, and to consort together at 
academic ceremonies. Thus Gonville Hall was fairly started 
on its way. It ranked from the first as a small foundation, 
and though it gradually added to its buildings and acquired 
various endowments, it did not materially increase its area 
for two centuries. The ancient walls of its early buildings — 
its chapel, hall, library, and master's lodge — are all doubtless 
still standing, though coated over with the ashlar placed on 
them in 1754. The ancient beams of the roof of the old 
hall are still to be seen in the attics of the present tutor's 
house. The upper room over the passage which leads from 
Gonville to Caius Court is the ancient chamber of the lodge 
where the early masters used to sleep, very little changed. 
The old main entrance to the College was in Trinity Lane, 
a thoroughfare so filthy in the reign of Richard II. that 
the King himself was appealed to in order to check the 
" horror abom'mabilis" through which students had to plunge 
on their way to the schools. From time to time new 
benefactors of the College came, though for the most part 
of a minor sort ; some of whom, however, have left quaint 
traces behind them. Of such was a certain Cluniac monk, 
John Household by name, a student in 151 3, who in his will 

1 Cooper's " Memorials," i. p. 99. 
II 4 


Es:^ '-• 

V v- ■ 



dated 1543 thus bequeaths — " To the College in Cambrydge 
called Gunvyle Hall, my longer table-clothe, my two awter 
(altar) pillows, with their bears of black satten bordered with 
velvet pirled with goulde : also a frontelet with the salutation 
of Our Lady curely wroughte with goulde ; and besides two 
suts of vestements having everythinge belonging to the 
adorning of a preste to say masse : the one is a light greene 
having white ends, and the other a duned Taphada," what- 
ever that may be. He also leaves his books, " protesting 
that whatsoever be founde in my bookes I intend to dye a 
veray Catholical Christen man, and the King's letheman and 
trewe subjecte." This might seem to speak well, perhaps, 
for the catholicity of the College in the thirty-fourth year 
of Henry VIII., and yet thirteen years earlier Bishop Nix of 
Norwich had written to Archbishop Warham : " I hear no 
clerk that hath come out lately of Gunwel Haule but saverith 
of the frying panne, though he speak never so holely." 
Anyhow, about this time the College became notorious 
as a hotbed of reformed opinions. It was, however, at this 
time also that a young student was trained within its walls, 
who, after a distinguished career at Cambridge — it would be 
an anachronism to call him senior wrangler, but his name 
stands first in that list which afterwards developed into the 
Mathematical Tripos — passed to the university of Padua to 
study medicine under the great anatomist, Vesalius, ultimately 
becoming a professor there, and returning to England, and to 
medical practice in London, and having presumably amassed 
a fortune in the process, formed the design of enlarging 



what he pathetically describes as " that pore house now- 
called Gonville Hall." On September 4, 1557, John Caius 
obtained the charter for his new foundation, and the ancient 
name of Gonville Hall was changed to that of Gonville and 
Caius College. In the following year the new benefactor 
was elected Master, and the remaining years of his life 
were spent, on the one hand, in quarrelling with Fellows 
about " College copes, vestments, albes, crosses, tapers . . . 
and all massynge abominations ; " and, on the other, in 
designing and carrying out those noble architectural addi- 
tions to the College which give to the buildings of Caius 
College their chief interest. 

" In his architectural works," says Mr. Atkinson, " Caius shews 
practical common sense combined with the love of symbolism. His 
court is formed by two ranges of building on the east and west, and 
on the north by the old chapel and lodge. To the south the court 
is purposely left open, and the erection of buildings on this side is 
expressly forbidden by one of his statutes, lest the air from being 
confined within a narrow space should become foul. The same care 
is shewn in another statute which imposes on any one who throws dirt 
or offal into the court, or who airs beds or bedlinen there, a fine of 
three shillings and fourpence. In his will also he requires that ' there 
be mayntayned a lustie and healthie, honest, true, and unmarried man 
of fortie years of age and upwardes to kepe cleane and swete the 
pavementes.' " ' 

The love of Dr. Caius for symbolism is shown most 
conspicuously in his design of the famous three Gates of 
Humility, of Virtue, and of Honour, which were intended to 

1 "Cambridge Described," by T. D. Atkinson, p. 326. 


typify, by the increasing richness of their design, the path 
of the student from the time of his entrance to the College, 
to the day when he passed to the schools to take his Degree 
in Arts. The Gate of Humility was a simple archway with 
an entablature supported by pilasters, forming the new 
entrance to the College from Trinity Street, or as it was then 
called, High Street, immediately opposite St. Michael's 
Church. On the inside of this gate there was a frieze on 
which was carved the word HUMILITATIS. From this 
gate there led a broad walk, bordered by trees, much in the 
fashion of the present avenue entrance to Jesus College, to 
the Gate of Virtue, a simple and admirable gateway tower 
in the range of the new buildings, forming the eastern side 
of the court, still known as Caius Court. 

" The word VIRTUTIS is inscribed on the frieze above the arch 
on the eastern side, in the spandrils of which are two female figures 
leaning forwards. That on the left holds a leaf in her left hand, and 
a palm branch in her right ; that on the right a purse in her right 
hand, and a cornucopia in her left. The western side of this gate 
has on its frieze, ' IO. CAIUS POSUIT SAPIENTLE, 1567,' an 
inscription manifestly derived from that on the foundation stone laid 
by Dr. Caius. Hence this gate is sometimes described as the Gate 
of Wisdom, a name which has however no authority. In the spandrils 
on this side are the arms of Dr. Caius." ] 

In the centre of the south wall, forming the frontage to 
Schools Street, stands the Gate of Honour. It is a singularly 
beautiful and picturesque composition, "built of squared hard 

1 Willis and Clark, i. 177. 


stone wrought according to the very form and figure which 
Dr. Caius in his lifetime had himself traced out for the 
architect." 1 It was not built until two years after Caius' 
death, that is, about the year 1575. It is considered probable 
that the architect was Theodore Havens of Cleves, who was 
undoubtedly the designer of " the great murall diall " over the 
archway leading into Gonville Court, and of the column 
"wrought with wondrous skill containing 60 sun-dialls . . . 
and the coat armour of those who were of gentle birth at 
that time in the College," standing in the centre of Caius 
Court, and of the " Sacred Tower," on the south side of the 
Chapel, all since destroyed. 

Beautiful as the Gate of Honour still remains, it must 
have had a very different appearance when it left the archi- 
tect's hand. Many of its most interesting features have 
wholly vanished. Among the illustrations to Willis and 
Clark's " History " there is an interesting attempt to restore 
the gateway with all its original details. At each angle, im- 
mediately above the lowest cornice, there was a tall pinnacle. 
Another group of pinnacles surrounded the middle stage, one 
at each corner of the hexagonal tower. On each face of the 
hexagon there was a sun-dial, and " at its apex a weathercock 
in the form of a serpent and dove." In the spandrils of the 
arch next the court are the arms of Dr. Caius, on an oval 
shield, " two serpents erect, their tails nowed together," and 
"between them a book." On the frieze is carved the word 
HONORIS. The whole of the stonework was originally 

1 Cooper's "Annals,'' 140. 

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painted white, and some parts, such as the sun-dials, the roses 
in the circular panels, and the coats-of-arms, were brilliant 
with colour and gold. The last payment for this " painting 
and gilding" bears date 1696 in the Bursar's book. Dr. 
Caius died in 1573, and was buried in the Chapel. On his 
monument are inscribed two short sentences — Vivitpostfunera 
virtus and Fui Cains. 

And so we may leave him and his College, and also perhaps 
fitly end this chapter with the kindly words with which 
Fuller commends to posterity the memory of this great 
College benefactor : — 

"Some since have sought to blast his memory by reporting him 
a papist ; no great crime to such who consider the time when he was 
born, and foreign places wherein he was bred : however, this I dare 
say in his just defence, he never mentioneth protestants but with due 
respect, and sometimes occasionally doth condemn the superstitious 
credulity of popish miracles. Besides, after he had resigned his 
mastership to Dr. Legg, he lived fellow-commoner in the College, and 
having built himself a little seat in the chapel, was constantly present 
at protestant prayers. If any say all this amounts but to a lukewarm 
religion, we leave the heat of his faith to God's sole judgment, and 
the light of his good works to men's imitation." x 

1 Fuller's " History of the University," p. 255. 

121 Q 



" The noblest memorial of the Cambridge gilds consists of the College which 
was endowed by the munificence of St. Mary's Gild and the Corpus Christi 
Gild : it perpetuates their names in its own. ... In other towns the gilds 
devoted their energies to public works of many kinds — to maintaining the 
sea-banks at Lynn, to sustaining the aged at Coventry, and to educating the 
children at Ludlow. In embarking on the enterprise of founding a College, the 
Cambridge men seem, however, to stand alone ; we can at least be sure that 
the presence of the University here afforded the conditions which rendered it 
possible for their liberality to take this form." — Cunningham. 

Unique Foundation of Corpus Christi College — The Cambridge Guilds — The 
influence of " the Good Duke " — The Peasant Revolt — Destruction of 
Charters— "Perish the skill of the Clerks ! "—The Black Death— 
Lollardism at the Universities — The Poore Priestes of Wycliffe. 


ERE at this time were two eminent guilds or fra- 
ternities of towns-folk in Cambridge, consisting of 
brothers and sisters, under a chief annually chosen, 
called an alderman. 

" The Guild of Corpus Christi, " The Guild of the Blessed 

keeping their prayers in St. Bene- Virgin, observing their offices in 
diet's Church. St. Mary's Church. 

" Betwixt these there was a zealous emulation, which of 

them should amortize and settle best maintenance for such 

chaplains to pray for the souls of those of their brotherhood. 

Now, though generally in those days the stars outshined the 



sun ; I mean more honour (and consequently more wealth) 
was given to saints than to Christ himself; yet here the 
Guild of Corpus Christi so outstript that of the Virgin Mary 
in endowments, that the latter (leaving off any further thoughts 
of contesting) desired an union, which, being embraced, they 
both were incorporated together. 2. Thus being happily 
married, they were not long issueless, but a small college was 
erected by their united interest, which, bearing the name of 
both parents, was called the College of Corpus Christi and 
the Blessed Mary. However, it hath another working-day 
name, commonly called (from the adjoined church) Benet 
College ; yet so, that on festival solemnities (when written in 
Latin, in public instruments) it is termed by the foundation 
name thereof." ' 

So picturesquely writes Thomas Fuller of the Foundation 
of Corpus Christi College. 

The colleges of Cambridge owe their foundation to many 
and various sources. We have already seen two of the most 
ancient tracing their origin to the liberality and foresight of 
wise bishops, two others to the widowed piety of noble ladies, 
one to the unselfish goodness of a parish priest. Later we 
shall find the stately patronage of kings and queens given to 
great foundations, and on the long roll of university bene- 
factors we shall have to commemorate the names of great 
statesmen and great churchmen, philosophers, scholars, poets, 
doctors, soldiers, " honoured in their generation and the glory 
of their days." One college, however, there is which has 

1 Fuller's "History of the University," p. 98. 


a unique foundation, for it sprang, in the first instance, 

from that purest fount of true democracy, the spirit of 

fraternal association for the protection of common rights 

and of mutual responsibility for the religious consecration 

of common duties, by which the Cambridge aldermen and 

burgesses in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were striving 

by their guild life to cherish those essential qualities of the 

English character — personal independence and faith in law- 

abidingness — which lie at the root of all that is best in our 

modern civilisation, and were undoubtedly characteristic of 

the English people in the earliest times of which history has 

anything to tell us. 

The history of the guild life of Cambridge is one of 

unusual interest. The story breaks off far oftener than we 

could wish, but in the continuity of its religious guild history 

Cambridge holds a very important place, second only perhaps 

to that of Exeter. All the Cambridge guilds of which we 

know anything seem to have been essentially religious guilds, 

so prominent throughout their history remained their religious 

object. It is only indeed in connection with one of the earliest 

of which we have any record, the guild of Cambridge Thegns 

in the eleventh century, associated in devotion to S. Ethel- 

dreda, the foundress saint of Ely, that we find any secular 

element. That Guild does indeed offer to its members a 

secular protection of which the later guilds of the thirteenth 

century knew nothing, for they were religious guilds pure 

and simple. It is true that in the first charter of King John, 

dated 8th Jan. 1201, there appears to be a confirmation to 




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the burgesses of Cambridge of a guild merchant granting to 
them certain secular rights of toll. But there does not 
appear to be any historical evidence to show that the Guild 
Merchant of Cambridge ever took definite shape, or stood 
apart in any way from the general body of burgesses. King 
John's charter simply secured to the town those liberties and 
franchises which all the chief boroughs of England enjoyed 
at the beginning of the thirteenth century. 1 

The first religious guild of which we have any record 
is the Guild of the Holy Sepulchre, known to us only by 
an isolated reference in the history of Ramsey Abbey, which 
tells us of a fraternity existing in i 114— 36, whose purpose 
was the building of a Minster in honour of God and the 
Holy Sepulchre, and which resulted in the erection of the 
Cambridge Round Church. Of Cambridge guild life we 
hear nothing more until the reign of Edward I., when we 
find record of certain conveyances of land being made to 
the Guild of S. Mary. From the first this guild is closely 
associated with Great S. Mary's Church, the University 
Church of to-day, the Church of S. Mary at Market, as 
it was called in the early days. The members of it were 
called the alderman, brethren and sisters of S. Mary's 
Guild belonging to the Church of the Virgin. Its bene- 
factors direct that should the guild cease, the benefaction 
shall go to the celebration of Our Lady Mass in her 
Church. The underlying spirit, however, whatever may 
have been the superstitious ritual connected with the organi- 

1 Cf. Introduction by Professor Maitland to the " Cambridge Borough Charters," p. xvii. 



satfon, was very much the same as that of the English 
Friendly Society of to-day. " Let all share the same lot," ran 
one of the statutes ; " if any misdo, let all bear it." " For 
the nourishing of brotherly love," — so the members of another 
society took the oath of loyalty — " they would be good and 
true loving brothers to the fraternity, helping and counselling 
with all their power if any brother that hath done his duties 
well and truly come or fall to poverty, as God them help." 

" The purpose of S. Mary's Gild was primarily the provision of 
prayers for the members. The ' congregation ' of brethren, sometimes 
brethren and sisters, met at irregular intervals, to pass ordinances and 
to elect officers. In 1300 they agree to attend S. Mary's Church on 
Jan. 2, to celebrate solemn mass for dead members. The penalty for 
absence was half a pound of wax, consumed no doubt in the provision 
of gild lights before the altar of Our Lady. Richard Bateman and 
his wife, in their undated grant, made the express condition that in 
return they should receive daily prayers for the health of their souls. 
... In the year 1307 . . . the gild passed an ordinance directing 
the gild chaplains to celebrate two trentals of masses (60 in all) for 
each dead brother. If the deceased left anything in his will to the 
gild, then as the alderman might appoint, the chaplains should do 
more or less celebration according to the amount bequeathed to the 
gild. The rule is naive, but its spirit is unpleasing. Individualism 
has thrust itself in where it seems very much out of place. The 
enrolment of the souls of the dead further witnesses to the purely 
religious character of the gild, and the purchase of a missal should 
also be noticed." ' 

The minutes and bede roll of the guild, which have 
lately been published by the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 

1 Miss Mary Bateson, " Introduction to Cambridge Gild Records," published by 
Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 1903. 



show that the association continued to flourish down to the 
time of the Great Plague. On its bede roll we find such names 
as those of Richard Hokyton, vicar of the Round Church ; 
of " Alan Parson of Seint Beneytis Chirche " ; of Warinus 
Bassingborn, High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire in 1341 ; of 
Walter Reynald, Chancellor of the University and Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, who died in 1327 ; and of Richard 
of Bury, Bishop of Durham, and author of the Philobiblon, 
who died in 1 345. In 1352, on "account of poverty," the 
Guild, by Royal Charter, was allowed to coalesce with the 
Guild of Corpus Christi, for the purpose of founding a 

Of this latter guild we have no earlier record than 

1349, three years only before the date of union with 
S. Mary's. Its minute-book, however, which begins in 

1350, shows it to have been at that time a flourishing 
institution. It had probably been founded, like that which 
bore the same dedication at York, for the purpose of con- 
ducting the procession on the Feast of Corpus Christi on 
the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, a festival instituted 
about 1264. There are no existing bede rolls of the guild, 
and therefore no means of knowing the names of any 
members who entered before 1350. It appears to have 
been attached from the first to the ancient Church of 
S. Benet. The reversion of the advowson of that Church 
was in 1350 held by a group of men, several of whom 
were leading members of the guild. In 1353 the then 

Rector entered the guild, and " by the ordinance of his 



friends " resigned the Church to the Bishop " gratis," that 
" the brethren and those who had acquired the advowson " 
might enter upon their possession. It is disappointing to 
find that there are no guild records telling of the union of 
S. Mary's guild with that of Corpus Christi, or of the 
circumstances which led to the creation of the college 
bearing the joint names of the two guilds. Such foun- 
dation was, as we have said, a remarkable event in the 
history of Cambridge collegiate life. Not that these guilds 
were the first or the last to take part in the endowment 
of education ; for many of the ancient grammar schools 
of the country owe their origin to, or were greatly assisted 
by, the benefactions of religious guilds. For example, 
Mr. Leach in his " English Schools at the Reformation " has 
noted, that out of thirty-three guilds, of whose returns he 
treats, no less than twenty-eight were supporting grammar 
schools. But the foundation of a college was a more ambitious 
task. It has a peculiar interest also, as that of an effort 
towards the healing of what was, even at this time, an 
outstanding feud between town and gown, between city 
and university. 

The principal authority for the history of the site and 
buildings of the college is the Historiola of Josselin, a fellow 
of Queen's College, and Latin Secretary to Archbishop Parker. 
According to his narrative, the guild of Corpus Christi had 
begun seriously to entertain the idea of building a college 
as early as 1342, for about that date, he says : — 

"Those brethren who lived in the parishes of S. Benedict and 



S. Botolph,and happened to have tenements and dwelling-houses close 
together in the street called Leithburne Lane, pulled them down, and 
with one accord set about the task of establishing a college there : 
having also acquired certain other tenements in the same street from 
the University. By this means they cleared a site for their college, 
square in form and as broad as the space between the present gate of 
entrance (i.e. by S. Benet's Church) and the Master's Garden." ' 

The original mover in the scheme for a guild college 
may well have been the future master, Thomas of Eltisley, 
chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury and rector of 
Lambeth. Among the Cambridge burgesses William Hor- 
wood, the mayor, was treasurer of the Guild in 1352, and 
used the mayoral seal for guild purposes, because the seals of 
the alderman and brethren of the Guild " are not sufficiently 
well known." Another mayor of Cambridge about this time, 
Robert de Brigham, was a member of the other associated 
Guild of S. Mary. How the support of Henry, Duke of 
Lancaster — the " Good Duke," as he was called — was secured 
does not appear, but he is mentioned as alderman of the 
Guild, in the letters patent of Edward III. in 1352, establish- 
ing the College. His influence perhaps may have been 
gained through Sir Walter Manny, the countryman and 
friend of Queen Philippa, whose whole family was enrolled 
in the Guild. 

At any rate, with the enrolment of the "Good Duke" 
as alderman of the Guild, the success of the proposed college 
was secure. In 1355 the Foundation received the formal 

1 Josselin, H'tstoriola, § 2. 

129 R 


consent of the chancellor and masters of the University, of 

the Bishop of Ely, and of the Prior and Chapter of Ely. 

The College Statutes, dated in the following year, 1356, 

show that " the chaplain and scholars were bound to appear 

in S. Benet's or S. Botulph's Church at certain times, and in 

all Masses the chaplains were to celebrate for the health of 

the King and Queen Philippa and their children, and the 

Duke of Lancaster, and the brethren and sisters, founders 

and benefactors of the Guild and College," and although this 

perhaps, rather than the love of learning, pure and simple, 

was the chief aim which influenced the early founders of 

Corpus Christi College, the Society has in after ages held 

a worthy place in the history of the University, and " Benet 

men " have occupied positions in church and state quite equal 

to those of more ample foundations. Three Archbishops of 

Canterbury — Parker, Tennison, and Herring — have been 

Corpus men, one of whom, Matthew Parker, enriched it 

with priceless treasures, and gave to its library a unique value 

by the bequest of what Fuller has called " the sun of English 

antiquity." Indeed, if they have done nothing else, the men 

of the Cambridge guilds have laid all students of English 

history under a supreme debt of gratitude in the provision of 

a place where so many of the MSS. so laboriously collected 

by Archbishop Parker are housed and preserved. From the 

walls of Benet College, also, there went out many other 

distinguished men : statesmen, like Nicholas Bacon, the Lord 

Keeper of the Seal ; bishops, like Thomas Goodrich and 

Peter Gurtning, of Ely ; translators of the Scriptures, like 


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Taverner, and Huett, and Pierson ; commentators on the 
Old Testament, like the learned and ingenious Dean Spencer 
of Ely, the Wellhausen of the seventeenth century ; soldiers, 
like the brave Earl of Lindsey, who fell at Edgehill, 
or like General Braddock, who was killed in Ohio in the 
colonial war against the French ; learned antiquaries, like 
Richard Gough ; sailors, like Cavendish, the circumnavigator ; 
poets, like Christopher Marlowe and John Fletcher. 

The College as originally built consisted of one court, 
which still remains, and is known as " the Old Court." It 
still preserves much of its ancient character, and is specially 
interesting as being probably the first originally planned quad- 
rangle. Josselin speaks of it as being " entirely finished, 
chiefly in the days of Thomas Eltisle, the first master, but 
partly in the days of Richard Treton, the second master." 
It consisted simply of a hall range on the south and chambers 
on the three other sides. The former contained at the south- 
east corner the master's chambers, communicating with the 
common parlour below, and also with the library and hall. 
As in most of the early colleges, both the gateway tower and 
the chapel were absent. The entrance was by an archway of 
the simplest character in the north range, opening into the 
southern part of the churchyard of S. Benet, and thus com- 
municating with Free School Lane, running past the east end 
of the church, or northwards past the old west tower, with 
Benet Street. At the end of the fifteenth century two small 
chapels, one above the other, were built adjoining the south 
side of S. Benet's chancel. They were connected with the 


College buildings by a gallery carried on arches like that 
already described in connection with Peterhouse. This 
picturesque building still exists. S. Benet's Church was 
used as the College chapel down to the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, when a new chapel was built, mainly 
due to the liberality of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper 
of the Great Seal. This chapel occupied nearly the same 
site as the western part of the present building, which 
took its place in 1823, as part of the scheme of buildings 
which gave to Corpus the large new court with frontage to 
Trumpington Street. The principal feature of these build- 
ings is the new library occupying the whole of the upper 
floor of the range of building on the south side of the quad- 
rangle. It is here that the celebrated collection of ancient 
MSS. collected by Archbishop Parker are housed. They 
contain, among many other treasures, the Winchester text of 
the " Old English Chronicle," that great national record, 
which at the bidding of King Alfred, in part quite probably 
under his own eye, was written in the scriptorium of Win- 
chester Cathedral; ancient copies of the " Penitentiale " of 
Archbishop Theodore ; King Alfred's translation of Pope 
Gregory's " Pastorale " ; Matthew Paris' own copy of his 
"History"; a copy of "John of Salisbury" which once 
belonged to Thomas a Becket ; the Peterborough " Psalter " ; 
Chaucer's " Troilus," with a splendid frontispiece of 1450 ; a 
magnificent folio of Homer's " Iliad " and " Odyssey " — a note 
by Josselin tells how " a baker at Canterbury rescued it from 
among some waste paper, remaining from S. Augustine's 

i3 2 


monastery after the dissolution," and how the Archbishop 
welcomed it as " a monstrous treasure " ; and Jerome's Latin 
version of the " Four Gospels," sent by Pope Gregory to 
Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, " the most 
interesting manuscript in England." 

No wonder that in handing over such a priceless gift to 
the charge of the College, Archbishop Parker should have 
striven to secure its future safety by this stringent regulation 
set out in his Deed of Gift. 

"... That nothing be wanting for their more careful preserva- 
tion, the Masters of Gonville and Caius College and of Trinity Hall, 
or their substitutes, are appointed annual supervisors on the 6th of 
August ; on which occasion they are to be invited to dinner with two 
scholars of his foundation in those colleges ; when each of the former 
is to have 3s. 4d. and the scholars is. a piece for their trouble in 
overlooking them ; at which time they may inflict a penalty of 4d. 
for every leaf of MS. that may be found wanting ; for every sheet, 2s. ; 
and for every printed book or MS. missing, and not restored within 
six months after admonition, what sum they think proper. But if 
6 MSS. in folio, 8 in quarto, and 1 2 in lesser size, should at any time 
be lost through supine negligence, and not restored within 6 months, 
then with the consent of the Vice-Chancellor and one senior doctor, 
not only all the books but likewise all the plate he gave shall be 
forfeited and surrendered up to Gonville and Caius College within a 
month following. And if they should afterwards be guilty of the 
like neglect they are then to be delivered over to Trinity Hall, and 
in case of their default to revert back in the former order. Three 
catalogues of these books were directed to be made, whereof one was 
to be delivered to each College, which was to be sealed with their 
common seal and exhibited at every visitation." 

We have spoken of the early foundation of the Guild 



College as in some sense an effort on the part of the Cam- 
bridge burgesses of the fourteenth century to take some 
worthy share in the development of university life. Un- 
fortunately the good feeling between town and gown was 
not of long duration. As the older burgesses who had been 
brethren of the guilds of Corpus Christi and S. Mary died 
off, an estrangement sprang up between the members of the 
college they had founded and the new generation of towns- 
men. The initial cause of trouble arose from the character 
of some of the early endowments of the College. It would 
seem that in addition to the many houses and tenements in 
the town which had been bequeathed to the College, a 
particularly objectionable rate in the form of " candle rent " 
was exacted by the College authorities. It is said that so 
numerous were the Cambridge tenements subjected to this 
rate, that one-half of the bouses in the town had become 
tributary to the College. The townsmen did not long con- 
fine themselves to mere murmuring or " passive resistance." 
In 1 38 1 the populace, taking advantage of the excitement 
caused by the Wat Tyler rebellion, vented their animosity 
and unreasoning hatred of learning by the destruction of all 
the College books, charters, and writings, and everything that 
bespoke a lettered community, on the Saturday next after the 
feast of Corpus Christi, prompted perhaps by their hatred 
of the pomp and display of wealth in connection with the 
great annual procession of the Host through the streets. The 
bailiffs and commonalty of Cambridge, so we read in the old 
record, assembled in the town hall and elected James of 


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Grantchester their captain. " Then going to Corpus 
Christi College, breaking open the house and doors, they 
traitorously carried away the charters, writings, and muni- 
ments." On the following Sunday they caused the great bell 
of S. Mary's Church to be rung, and there broke open the 
university chest. The masters and scholars under intimida- 
tion surrendered all their charters, muniments, ordinances, 
and a grand conflagration ensued in the market-place. One 
old woman, Margaret Steere, gathered the ashes in her hands 
and flung them into the air with the cry, " Thus perish 
the skill of the clerks ! away with it ! away with it ! " 
Having finished their work of destruction in the market- 
place, the crowd of rioters marched out to Barnwell, 
" doing," so Fuller tells the story, " many sacrilegious out- 
rages to the Priory there. Nor did their fury fall on men 
alone, even trees were made to taste of their cruelty. In 
their return they cut down a curious grove called Green's 
Croft by the river side (the ground now belonging to Jesus 
College), as if they bare such a hatred to all wood they 
would not leave any to make gallows thereof for thieves 
and murderers. All these insolences were acted just at 
that juncture of time when Jack Straw and Wat Tyler 
played Rex in and about London. More mischief had they 
done to the scholars had not Henry Spencer, the warlike 
Bishop of Norwich, casually come to Cambridge with some 
forces and seasonably suppressed their madness." 1 

And so the story of the seven earliest of the Cambridge 

1 Fuller's " History of Cambridge,'' p. 1 1 6. 


colleges closes in a time of social misery and of national 
peril. The collapse of the French war after Crecy, and the 
ruinous taxation of the country which was consequent upon 
it, the terrible plague of the Black Death sweeping away 
half the population of England, and the iniquitous labour 
laws, which in face of that depopulation strove to keep down 
the rate of wages in the interests of the landlords, had 
brought the country to the verge of a wide, universal, social, 
political revolution. It was no time, perhaps, in which to 
look for any great national advance in scholarship or learn- 
ing, much less for new theories of education or of academic 
progress. It is not certainly in the subtle realist philosophy 
and the dry syllogistic Latin of the De Dominio Divino of 
John Wycliffe, the greatest Oxford schoolman of his age, but 
in the virile, homely English tracts, terse and vehement, 
which John Wycliffe, the Reformer, wrote for the guidance 
of his " poore priestes " (and in which, incidentally, he made 
once more the English tongue a weapon of literature), that 
we find the new forces of thought and feeling which were 
destined to tell on every age of our later history. It is not in 
the good-humoured, gracious worldliness of the poet Chaucer 
— most true to the English life of his own day as is the 
varied picture of his " Canterbury Tales " — but in the rustic 
shrewdness and surly honesty of " Peterkin the Plowman " 
in William Langland's great satire, that we find the true 
" note " of English religion, that 1 godliness, grim, earnest, and 
Puritan, which was from henceforth to exercise so deep an 

influence on the national character. 



But while what was good in the Lollard spirit survived, 
the Lollards themselves, with the death of WyclifFe and of 
John of Gaunt, his great friend and protector, fell upon evil 
times. Their revolution hy force had almost succeeded. For 
a short time they were masters of the field. But with the 
passing of the immediate terror of the Peasant Revolt, the 
conservative forces of the state rallied to the protection 
of that social order whose very existence the Lollards 
had, by their ferocious extravagance and frantic communism, 
seemed to threaten. The wiser contemporaries of this move- 
ment agreed to abandon its provocations and to consign it 
to oblivion or misconception. At Oxford, the Government 
threatened to suppress the University itself unless the Lollards 
were displaced. And Oxford, to outward appearance, sub- 
mitted. Its Lollard chancellor was dismissed. The " poore 
priestes " and preachers were silenced, or departed to spread 
the new Gospel of the " Bible-men " across the sea. Some 
recanted and became bishops, cardinals, persecutors. But 
many remained obscure or silent and cautious. Thomas 
Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking of Oxford, 
said that there were wild vines in the University, and there- 
fore little grapes ; that tares were constantly sown among 
the pure wheat, and that the whole University was leavened 
with heresy. " You cannot meet," said a monkish historian, 
" five people talking together but three of them are 
Lollards." At Cambridge, on the 1 6th September 1401, 
holding a visitation in the Congregation House, the Arch- 
bishop had privately put to the Chancellor and the Doctors 

137 s 


ten questions with regard to the discipline of the University. 
One question was significant : " Were there any" the Arch- 
bishop asked, " suspected of Lollardism ? " The terrible and 
infamous statute, " De Heretico Comburendo," had been 
passed in the previous year, and but a few months before 
the first victim of that enactment had been burnt at the 

It is an historic saying, that " Cambridge bred the 
Founders of the English Reformation and that Oxford 
burnt them." The statement is not without its grain of 
truth. The Puritan Reformation of the sixteenth century 
found, no doubt, its strongest adherents in the eastern 
counties of England ; but it was not so much because the 
scholars of Cambridge welcomed more heartily than their 
brothers in the western university the teaching of the 
scholars of Geneva, but because the people of East Anglia, 
two centuries before, had been saturated with the Bible 
teaching of the " poore priestes " of Wycliffe's school, and 
throughout the whole of the intervening period had secretly 
cherished it. For the present, however, the curtain drops 
on the age of the schoolmen with the death of Wycliffe. 
When it rises again, we shall find ourselves in the age of 
the New Learning. What the transition was from one time 
to the other, how deeply the Revival of Learning influenced 
the reformation of religion, we shall hear in the succeeding 




"Tax not the royal saint with vain expense, 
With ill-matched aims the architect who planned, 
Albeit labouring for a scanty band 
Of white-robed scholars only — this immense 
And glorious work of fine intelligence ! 
Give all thou can'st : high Heaven rejects the lore 
Of nicely calculated less or more ; 
So deemed the man who fashioned for the sense 
These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof, 
Self-poised, and scooped into ten thousand cells, 
Where light and shade repose, where music dwells 
Lingering —and wandering on as loth to die ; 
Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof 
That they were born for immortality." 

— Wordsworth's Sonnet on King's College Chapel. 

Henry VI. — The most pitiful Character in all English History — His devotion to 
Learning and his Saintly Spirit — His foundation of Eton and King's College 
— The Building of King's College Chapel — Its architect, Reginald of Ely, 
the Cathedral Master-Mason — Its relation to the Ely Lady Chapel — Its 
stained glass Windows — Its close Foundation — Queen's College — Margaret 
of Anjou and Elizabeth Wydville — The buildings of Queen's — Similarity 
to Haddon Hall — Its most famous Resident, Erasmus — His Novum Instru- 
menturn edited within its Walls. 

ON the 6th of December 1421, being S. Nicolas' 
1 Day, the unhappy Henry of Windsor was born. 
On the 1 st of September in the following year 
as an infant of less than a year old, he began 
his reign of forty miserable years as Henry VI. There is 



no more pitiful character in all English history than he. 
Henry V., his father, had been by far the greatest king of 
Christendom, and England, under his rule, had rejoiced in 
a light which was all the brighter for the gloom that 
preceded and followed it. The dying energies of mediaeval 
life sank into impotency with his death. The long reign 
of his son is one unbroken record of divided counsels, con- 
stitutional anarchy, civil war, national exhaustion ; only too 
faithfully fulfilling the prophecy which his father is said 
to have uttered, when he was told in France of the birth 
of his son at Windsor : " I, Henry of Monmouth, shall 
gain much in my short reign, but Henry of Windsor will 
reign much longer and lose all ; but God's will be done." 
" Henry VI." — I quote the pathetic words of my kins- 
man, the historian of the Constitution — 

" Henry was perhaps the most unfortunate king who ever reigned ; 
he outlived power and wealth and friends ; he saw all who had loved 
him perish for his sake, and, to crown all, the son, the last and dearest 
of the great house from which he sprang, the centre of all his hopes, 
the depositary of the great Lancastrian traditions of English polity, 
set aside and slain. And he was without doubt most innocent of all 
the evils that befell England because of him. Pious, pure, generous, 
patient, simple, true and just, humble, merciful, fastidiously consci- 
entious, modest and temperate, he might have seemed made to rule 
a quiet people in quiet times. ... It is needless to say that for the 
throne of England in the midst of the death struggle of nations, 
parties, and liberties, Henry had not one single qualification." J 

And yet he did leave an impression on the hearts of 

1 Stubbs, "Constitutional History," vol. iii. p. 130. 

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Englishmen which will not readily be erased. For setting 
aside the fabled visions and the false miracles with which he 
is credited, and upon which Henry VII. relied when he 
pressed the claims of his predecessor for formal canonisation 
on Pope Julius II., it was certainly no mere anti-Lancastrian 
loyalty or party spirit which led the rough yeomen farmers 
of Yorkshire to worship before his statue on the rood-screen 
of their Minster and to sing hymns in his honour, or caused 
the Latin prayers which he had composed to be reverently 
handed down to the time of the Reformation through many 
editions of the " Sarum Hours." One enduring monument 
there is of his devotion to learning and of his saintly spirit, 
which must long keep his memory green, namely, the royal 
and religious foundation of the two great colleges which he 
projected at Eton and at Cambridge. 

Of Eton we need not speak. The fame of that college is 
written large on the page of English history. And that fame 
and its founder's memory we may safely leave to the " scholars 
of Henry " in its halls and playing fields to-day. 

' Christ and His Mother, heavenly maid, 
Mary, in whose fair name was laid 
Eton's corner, bless our youth 
With truth, and purity, mother of truth ! 

O ye, "neath breezy skies of June, 
By silver Thames' lulling tune, 
In shade of willow or oak, who try 
The golden gates of poesy ; 



Or on the tabled sward all day 
Match your strength in England's play, 
Scholars of Henry giving grace 
To toil and force in game or race ; 

Exceed the prayer and keep the fame 
Of him, the sorrowful king who came 
Here in his realm, a realm to found 
Where he might stand for ever crowned." l 

It was on the 12th of February 1441, when Henry of 
Windsor was only nineteen years old, that the first charter 
for the foundation of King's College, Cambridge, was signed. 
On the 2nd of April in the same year he laid the first stone. 
It is difficult to say from whence the first impulse to the 
patronage of learning came to the King. He had always 
been a precocious scholar, too early forced to recognise his 
work as successor to his father. Something of his uncle 
Duke Humphrey of Gloucester's ardent love of letters he had 
imbibed at an early age. No doubt, too, the Earl of Warwick, 
"the King's master" for eighteen years, had faithfully dis- 
charged his duty to " teach him nurture literature, language, 
and other manner of cunning as his age shall suffer him to 
comprehend such as it fitteth so great a prince to be learned 
of," and had made his royal pupil a good scholar and accom- 
plished gentleman : though perhaps he had suffered the young 
king's mind to take somewhat too ascetic and ecclesiastic a 
bent for the hard and perilous times which he had to face : a 
feature of his character which Shakespeare emphasises in the 

1 Robert Bridges. 


speech which he puts into the mouth of Margaret of Anjou, 
his affianced bride, in the first act of the play in which he 
draws the picture of the decay of England's power under 
the weak, and saintly Lancastrian king with so masterly a 
pencil : — 

"I thought King Henry had resembled (Pole) 
In courage, courtship, and proportion : 
But all his mind is bent to holiness, 
To number Ave-Maries on his beads : 
His champions are the Prophets and Apostles : 
His weapons holy saws of sacred writ : 
His study is his tilt-yard, and his loves 
Are brazen images o' canonized saints. 
I would the college of the cardinals 
Would choose him Pope, and carry him to Rome, 
And set the triple crown upon his head : 
That were a state fit for his holiness." ' 

However, the first fruits of the royal " holiness " was a 
noble conception. A visit to Winchester in July of 1440, 
where Henry studied carefully from personal observation the 
working of William of Wykeham's system of education, seems 
to have fired him with the desire to rival that great pioneer 
of Schoolcraft's magnificent foundations at Winchester and 
Oxford. The suppression of the alien priories, decreed by 
Parliament in the preceding reign and carried out in his own, 
provided a convenient means of carrying out the project. 
Henry V. had already appropriated their revenues for the 
purposes of war in France. Henry VI. proceeded to con- 
fiscate them permanently as an endowment for his college 

1 Second Part of King Henry VI., Act i. sc. 3. 

I45 T 


foundations. It would appear, however, that the first inten- 
tion of the King had been that his two foundations, should 
have been independent of one another, and that the connection 
of Eton with King's, after the manner of Winchester and 
New College, came rather as an afterthought and as part of 
a later scheme. The determination, however, that the Eton 
scholars should participate in the Cambridge foundation forms 
part of the King's scheme in the second charter of his college 
granted on ioth July 1443, in which he says : — 

" It is our fixed and unalterable purpose, being moved thereto, as 
we trust, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that our poor scholars 
of our Royal foundation of S. Mary of Eton, after they have been 
sufficiently taught the first rudiments of grammar, shall be transferred 
thence to our aforesaid College of Cambridge, which we will shall 
be henceforth denominated our College Royal of S. Mary and S. 
Nicholas, there to be more thoroughly instructed in a liberal course 
of study, in other branches of knowledge, and other professions." 

The first site chosen for the College was a very cramped 

and inconvenient one. It had Milne Street, then one of 

the principal thoroughfares of the town, on the west, the 

University Library and schools on the east, and School Street 

on the north. On the south side only had it any outlet at 

all. A court was formed by placing buildings on the three 

unoccupied sides, the University buildings forming a fourth. 

These buildings, however, were never completely finished, 

except in a temporary manner, and indeed so remained until 

the end of the last century, when they were more or less 

incorporated in the new buildings of the University Library 

facing Trinity Hall Lane, erected by Sir Gilbert Scott in 


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1868. The old gateway facing Clare College, which had 
been begun in 1444, was at last completed from the designs 




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of Mr. Pearson in 1890, and remains one of the most 
beautiful architectural gates in Cambridge. 



It very soon, however, became evident that the selected 
site was much too small for the projected college. Little 
time was lost by the earliest provost and scholars in 
petitioning the King to provide an ampler habitation for 
their needs. 

" The task was beset with difficulties that would have daunted a 
mind less firmly resolved on carrying out the end in view than the 
king's ; difficulties indeed that would have been insuperable except 
by royal influence, backed by a royal purse. The ground on which 
King's College now stands was then densely populated. It occupied 
nearly the whole of the parish of S. John Baptist, whose church 
is believed to have stood near the west end of the chapel. Milne 
Street crossed the site from north to south, in a direction that may 
be easily identified from the two ends of the street that still remain, 
under the name of Trinity Hall Lane and Queen's Lane. The 
space between Milne Street and Trumpington Street, then called 
High Street, was occupied by the houses and gardens of different 
proprietors, and was traversed by a narrow thoroughfare called Piron 
Lane, leading from High Street to S. John's Church. At the corner 
of Milne Street and this lane, occupying the ground on which about 
half the ante-chapel now stands, was the small college called God's 
House, founded in 1439 by William Byngham for the study of 
grammar, which, as he observes in his petition to Henry VI. for leave 
to found it, is ' the rote and ground of all other sciences.' On the 
west side of Milne Street, between it and the river, were the hostels 
of S. Austin, S. Nicholas, and S. Edmund, besides many dwelling- 
houses. This district was traversed by several lanes, affording to 
the townspeople ready access to the river, and to a wharf on its bank 
called Salthithe. No detailed account has been preserved of the 
negotiations necessary for the acquisition of this ground, between six 
and seven acres in extent, and in the very heart of Cambridge. . . . 



The greatest offence appears to have been given by the closing of the 
lanes leading down to the river, which was of primary importance to 
mediaeval Cambridge as a highway. In five years' time, however, the 
difficulties were all got over; the town yielded up, though not with 
the best grace, the portion of Milne Street required and all the other 
thoroughfares; the hostels were suppressed, or transferred to other 
sites; the Church of S. John was pulled down, and the parish united 
to that of S. Edward, whose church bears evidence, by the spacious 
aisles attached to its choir, of the extension rendered necessary at 
that time by the addition of the members of Clare Hall and Trinity 
Hall to the number of its parishioners." l 

On this splendid site of many acres, where now the silent 
green expanse of sunlit lawn has taken the place of the busy 
lanes and crowded tenements, which in Henry's time hummed 
with the life of a mediaeval river-side city, there rises the 
wondrous building, the crown of fifteenth-century architec- 
ture, beautiful, unique — a cathedral church in size, a college 
chapel in plan — seeming in its lofty majesty so solitary and 
so aloof, and yet so instantaneously impressive. 

Who was the architect of this masterpiece ? The credit 
has commonly been given to one of two men — Nicholas Close 
or John Langton. Close was a man of Flemish family, and 
one of the original six Fellows of the College. He had for a 
few years been the vicar of the demolished Church of S. John 
Zacbary. He afterwards became Bishop of Carlisle. Langton 
was Master of Pembroke and Chancellor of the University, and 
was one of the commissioners appointed by the King to super- 
intend the scheme of the works at their commencement. But 

1 J. W. Clark, "Cambridge," p. 145. 


both of these men were theologians and divines. We have no 
evidence that they were architects. Mr. G. Gilbert Scott, in 
his essay on " English Church Architecture," has, however, 
given reasons, which seem to be almost conclusive, that the 
man who should really have the credit of conceiving this 
great work was the master-mason Reginald of Ely, who as 
early as 1443 was appointed by a patent of Henry VI. "to 
press masons, carpenters, and other workmen " for the new 
building. According to Mr. Scott's view, Nicholas Close and 
his fellow surveyors merely did the work which in modern 
days would be done by a building committee. It was the 
master-mason who planned the building, and who continued 
to act as architect until the works came to a standstill with 
the deposition of the King and the enthronement of his suc- 
cessor Edward IV. in 1462. Moreover, the character of the 
general design of King's Chapel and even its architectural de- 
tails, such as the setting out of its great windows, the plan of 
its vaulting shafts, and the groining of the roofs of the small 
chapels between its buttresses, lend force to Mr. Scott's con- 
tention. It is evident from the accuracy and minuteness of 
the directions given in " the Will of King Henry VI." (a docu- 
ment which was not in reality a testament, but an expression 
of his deliberate purpose and design with regard to his pro- 
posed foundation), that complete working plans had been pre- 
pared by an architect. Whoever that architect may have 
been, he had evidently been commissioned to design a chapel 
of magnificence worthy of a royal foundation. And where 

more naturally could he look for his model for such a building 



as the King desired than to that chapel, the largest and the 
most splendid hitherto erected in England, that finest speci- 
men of decorated architecture in the kingdom, Alan de Wal- 
singham's Lady Chapel at Ely. The relationship hetween the 
two buildings is obvious to even an uninstructed eye, but Mr. 
Scott has shown how closely the original design of King's 
follows the Ely Lady Chapel lines. 

"Any one," he truly says, "who will carry up his eye from the 
bases of the vaulting shafts to the springing of the great vault will 
perceive at once that the section of the shaft does not correspond with 
the plan of the vault springers. There is a sort of cripple here. The 
shaft is, in fact, set out with seven members, while the design of the 
vault plan requires but five. Thus two members of the pier have 
nothing to do, and disappear somewhat clumsily in the capital. The 
section of these shafts was imposed by the first architect, and does not 
agree with the requirement of a fan-groin (designed by the architect 
of a later date). . . . The original sections, and the peculiar distri- 
bution of their bases, unmistakably indicate a ribbed vault, with 
transverse, diagonal, and intermediate ribs. Now, if we apply to the 
plan of these shaftings at Cambridge the plan of the vaulting at Ely, 
we find the two to tally precisely. Each member of the pier has its 
corresponding rib, in the direction of the sweep of which each member 
of the base is laid down. This might serve as proof sufficient, but it 
is not all. There exist in the church two lierne-groins of the work of 
the first period, those namely of the two easternmost chapels of the 
north range, and these are identical in principle with the great vault 
at Ely, and with the plan that is indicated by the distribution of the 
ante-chapel bases. We know then that the first designer of the 
church did employ lierne and not fan-vaulting, even in the small 
areas of the chapels, and that these Hemes resemble not the later form 
— such as we may observe in the nave of Winchester Cathedral — but 

J5 1 


the earlier manner which is exhibited at Ely. There can, therefore, 
as I conceive, be no doubt that this great chapel was designed to be 
' chare-roofed ' with such a lierne-vault — it is practically a Welsh- 
groin — as adorns the next grandest chapel in England only sixteen 
miles distant." ' 

There seems little doubt then that the architect of King's 
Chapel was its first master-builder, Reginald of Ely, who, 
trained under the shadow of the great Minster buildings in 
that city, probably in its mason's yard, naturally took as his 
model for the King's new chapel at Cambridge one of the 
most exquisite of the works of the great cathedral builder of 
the previous century, Alan de Walsingham. 

Had the original design of Reginald been completed, 
several of the defects of the building, as we see it to-day, 
would have been avoided. The chapel vault would have 
been arched, and the great space which is now left between 
the top of the windows and the spring of the vaulting would 
have been avoided. Much of the heaviness of effect also, 
which is felt by any one studying the exterior of the chapel, 
and which is due to the low pitch of the window arches, 
rendered necessary by the alteration in the design of the great 
vault, would have been avoided. 

Reginald of Ely's work, however, indeed all work on 
the new chapel, ceased in 1461, when the battle of Towton 
gave the crown to the young Duke of York, and the 
Lancastrian colleges of his rival fell upon barren days. 
On the accession of Richard III. in 1483, the new king 

1 G. Gilbert Scott, "History of English Architecture." p. 1 8 1 . 




not only showed his goodwill to the College by the 
gift of lands, but ordered the building to go on with all 
despatch. In 1485, however, there commenced another 
period of twenty years' stagnation. Then in 1506, Henry 
VII., paying a visit with his mother to Cambridge, attended 
service in the unfinished chapel, and determined to become 
its patron. In the summer of 1508 more than a hundred 
masons and carpenters were again at work, and henceforth 
the building suffered no interruption. By July 151 5 the 
fabric of the church was finished, and had cost in all, accord- 
ing to the present value of money, some £160,000. 

In November of the same year a payment of £100 is 
made to Barnard Flower, the King's glazier, and a similar sum 
in February 15 17. It would seem that the same artist 
completed four windows, that over the north door of the ante- 
chapel being the earliest. Upon his death agreements were 
made in 1526 for the erection of the whole of the remaining 
twenty-two windows. They were to represent " the story of 
the old lawe and of the new lawe." Above and below the 
transome in each window are two separate pictures, each 
pair being divided by a " messenger," who bears a scroll with 
a legend giving the subject represented. In the lower 
tier the windows from north-west to south-west represent 
the Life of the Blessed Virgin, the Life of Christ, and the 
History of the Church as recorded in the Acts of the 
Apostles. The upper tier has scenes from the Old Testa- 
ment or from apocryphal sources which prefigure the events 
recorded below. The whole of the east window is devoted 



to the Passion and Crucifixion of our Lord. The west 
window, containing a representation of the Last Judgment, is 
entirely modern. It was executed by Messrs. Clayton and 
Bell, and was erected in 1879. 

" A bare enumeration of the subjects, however, can give but a 
poor idea of these glorious paintings. What first arrests the atten- 
tion is the singularly happy blending of colours, produced by a most 
ingenious juxtaposition of pure tints. The half-tones so dear to 
the present generation were fortunately unknown when they were set 
up. Thus though there is a profusion of brilliant scarlet, and light 
blue, and golden yellow, there is no gaudiness. Again, all the glass 
admits light without let or hindrance, the shading being laid on with 
sparing hand, so that the greatest amount of brilliancy is insured. 
This is further enhanced by a very copious use of white or slightly 
yellow glass. It must not, however, be supposed that a grand effect 
of colour is all that has been aimed at. The pictures bear a close 
study as works of art. The figures are rather larger than life, and 
boldly drawn, so as to be well seen from a great distance ; but the 
faces are full of expression and individuality, and each scene is 
beautiful as a composition. They would well bear reduction within 
the narrow limits of an easel picture. . . . There is no doubt that 
a German or Flemish influence is discernible in some of the subjects ; 
but that is no more than might have been expected, when we 
consider the number of sets of pictures illustrating the life and 
passion of Christ that had appeared in Germany and Flanders during 
the half century preceding their execution. . . . That these windows 
should (at the time of the Puritan destruction of such things) have 
been saved is a marvel ; and how it came to pass is not exactly 
known. The story that they were taken out and hidden, or, as 
one version of it says, buried, may be dismissed as an idle fabrica- 
tion. More likely the Puritan sentiments of the then provost, 
Dr. Whichcote, were regarded with such favour by the Earl of 




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Manchester during his occupation of Cambridge, that he interfered 
to save the chapel and the college from molestation." 

The magnificent screen and rood-loft are carved with the 
arms, badge, and initials (H. A.) of Henry and Anne Boleyn, 
and with the rose, fleur-de-lis, and portcullis. Doubtless, there- 
fore, they were erected between 1532 and 1535- The doors 
to the screen were renewed in 1636, and bear the arms of 
Charles I. The stalls were set up by Henry VIII., but they 
were without canopies, the wall above them being probably 
covered with hangings, the hooks for which may still be seen 
under the string-course below the windows. The stalls are in 
the Renaissance manner, and are the first example of that style 
at Cambridge. They appear to differ somewhat in character 
from Torregiano's works at Westminster, and to be rather 
French than Italian in feeling, although some portions of the 
figure-carving recalls in its vigour the style of Michael Angelo. 
The stall canopies and the panelling to the east of the stalls 
were the work of Cornelius Austin, and were put up about 
1675. The north and south entrance doors leading to the 
quire and the side chapel are probably of the same date as the 
screen. The lectern dates from the first quarter of the six- 
teenth century, having been given by Robert Hacombleyn, 
provost, whose name it bears. 

As to the remaining buildings of King's College it is 
sufficient to say that the great quadrangle projected by the 
founder was never built. The old buildings at the back of 
the schools, hastily finished in a slight and temporary manner, 

1 J. W. Clark, "Cambridge." p. 171. 



continued in use until the last century. In 1723 a plan was 
furnished by James Gibbs for a new quadrangle, of which the 
chapel was to form the north side. The western range — the 
Gibbs building — was the only part actually built. The hall, 
library, provost's lodge, and several sets of rooms at each end 
of the hall, as well as the stone screen and the porter's lodge, 
were erected in 1824—28, at a cost of rather more than 
£ 1 00,000, from the designs of William Wilkins. A range 
of rooms facing Trumpington Street were added by Sir 
Gilbert Scott in 1870. The new court, which when com- 
pleted will form a court with buildings on three sides and 
the river on the fourth, was commenced by Mr. Bodley 
in 1 89 1. At present this third side of the court is still 
left open. 

To return, however, to the history of the foundation. It 
is an illustration of the way in which at this time ultramon- 
tanist theories were contending for supremacy in England, in 
the universities as elsewhere, that the King should have applied 
to the pope for a bull granting him power to make his new 
college not only independent of the bishop of the diocese, but 
also of the University authorities. Such a bull was granted, 
and in 1448 the University itself consented, by an instrument 
given under its common seal, that the College, in the matter 
of discipline as distinguished from instruction, should be en- 
tirely independent of the University. By the limitation also 
of the benefits of this foundation to scholars only of Eton, the 
founder, perhaps unconsciously, certainly disastrously, created 

an exclusive class of students endowed with exclusive privi- 


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leges, an anomaly which for more than four centuries marred 
the full efficiency of Henry's splendid foundation. This 
imperium in imperio was happily abolished by a new code of 
statutes which became law in 1 86 1 . 

" A little flock they were in Henry's hall 

Hardly the circle widened, till one day 
The guarded gate swung open wide to all." 

It may certainly be hoped that there is truth in the 
present provost's gentle prophecy, that " it is hardly possible 
that the College should relapse into what was sometimes its 
old condition, that of a family party, comfortable, indeed, but 
inclined to be sleepy and self-indulgent, and not wholly free 
from family quarrels." 

And yet at the same time it should not be forgotten, as 
good master Fuller reminds us, that " the honour of Athens 
lieth not in her walls, but in the worth of her citizens," and 
that during the lengthened period in which the society was a 
close foundation only open to scholars of Eton, with a yearly 
entry therefore of new members seldom exceeding half-a- 
dozen, it could still point to a long list of distinguished 
scholars and of men otherwise eminent — mathematicians like 
Oughtred, moralists like Whichcote, theologians like Pearson, 
antiquarians like Cole, poets like Waller — who had been 
educated within its walls. In Cooper's " Memorials of 
Cambridge," the list of eminent King's men down to i860 
occupies twenty pages, a similar list of Trinity men, the 

largest college in the university, only ten pages more. This 

161 x 


hardly seems to justify Dean Peacock's well-known epigram on 

the unreformed King's as "a splendid Cenotaph of learning." 

Let us now turn from King Henry's College to the other 

royal foundation of his reign which claims his consort, the 

Lady Margaret of Anjou, as its foundress. The poet Gray 

in his " Installation Ode," speaking of Queen Margaret in 

relation to Queens' College, calls her " Anjou's heroine." 

But those Shakespearean readers who have been accustomed 

to think of his representation of the Queen, in The Second Part 

of King Henry VI., as a dramatic portrait of considerable truth 

and historic consistency, will hardly recognise the " heroic " 

qualities of Margaret's character. Certainly she is not one 

of Shakespeare's " heroines." She has none of the womanly 

grace or lovableness of his ideal women. A woman of hard 

indomitable will, mistaking too often cruelty for firmness, 

using the pliancy and simplicity of her husband for mere 

party ends, outraging the national conscience by stirring up 

the Irish, the French, the Scots, against the peace of England, 

finally pitting the north against the south in a cruel and 

futile civil war, with nothing left of womanhood but the 

almost tigress heart of a baffled mother, this is the Queen 

Margaret as we know her in Shakespeare and in history. 

But " Our Lady the Queen Margaret," who was a " nursing 

mother" to Queens' College, seems a quite different figure. 

She has but just come to England, a wife and queen when 

little more than a child, " good-looking and well-grown " 

[specie et forma prcestans), precocious, romantic, a " devout 

pilgrim to the shrine of Boccaccio," delighting in the ballads 



of the troubadour, a lover of the chase, inheriting all the 
literary tastes of her father, King Rene of Anjou. The 
motives which led her to become the patroness of a college 
are thus given by Thomas Fuller : — 

" As Miltiades' trophy in Athens would not suffer Themistocles 
to sleep, so this queen, beholding her husband's bounty in building 
King's College, was restless in herself with holy emulation until she 
had produced something of the like nature, a strife wherein wives 
without breach of duty may contend with their husbands which 
should exceed in pious performances." ' 

Accordingly we read that in 1447 Queen Margaret, 
being then but fifteen years old, sent to the King the following 
petition : — 

" Margaret, — To the king my souverain lord. Besechith mekely 
Margaret, quene of England, youre humble wif. Forasmuche as 
youre moost noble grace hath newely ordeined and stablisshed a 
Collage of Seint Bernard, in the Universite of Cambrigge, with 
multitude of grete and faire privilages perpetuelly apparteynyng 
unto the same, as in your lettres patentes therupon made more 
plainly hit appereth. In the whiche Universite is no Collage founded 
by eny quene of England hidertoward. Plese hit therfore unto 
your highnesse to geve and graunte unto your seide humble wif 
the fondacon and determinacon of the seid collage to be called and 
named the Quene's Collage of Sainte Margarete and Saint Bernard, 
or ellis of Sainte Margarete, vergine and martir, and Saint Bernard 
Confessour, and thereupon for ful evidence therof to hav licence and 
pouoir to ley the furst stone in her own persone or ellis by other 
depute of her assignement, so that beside the mooste noble and 
glorieus collage roial of our Lady and Saint Nicholas, founded by 

1 Fuller, '• University of Cambridge,"' p. 161. 


your highnesse may be founded and stablisshed the seid so called 
Quenes Collage to conservacon of oure feithe and augmentacon of 
pure clergie, namly of the imparesse of alle sciences and facultees 
theologie . . to the ende there accustumed of plain lecture and 
exposicon botraced with docteurs sentence autentiq performed daily 
twyse by two docteurs notable and well avised upon the bible 
aforenone and maistre of the sentences afternone to the publique 
audience of alle men frely, bothe seculiers and religieus to the 
magnificence of denominacon of suche a Queen's Collage, and to 
laud and honneure of sexe feminine, like as two noble and devoute 
contesses of Pembroke and of Clare, founded two collages in the 
same Universite called Pembroke hall and Clare hall, the wiche 
are of grete reputacon for good and worshipful clerkis that by grete 
multitude have be bredde and brought forth in theym. And of your 
more ample grace to graunte that alle privileges immunitees, profites 
and comoditees conteyned in the lettres patentes above reherced may 
stonde in their strength and pouoir after forme and effect of the 
conteine in theym. 

" And she shal ever preye God for you." 

The College of S. Bernard, mentioned in the first para- 
graph of the Queen's petition, was a hostel, established by 
Andrew Dokett, the rector of S. Botolph's Church, situated 
on the north side of the churchyard in Trumpington Street, 
adjoining Benet College. For this hostel, Dokett had 
obtained from the King in 1446 a charter of incorporation 
as a college, but a year later procured another charter, re- 
founding the College of S. Bernard on a new site, between 
Milne Street and the river, adjoining the house of the 
Carmelite Friars. The true founder, therefore, of Queens' 

College was Andrew Dokett, but he was foresighted enough 



to seek the Queen's patronage for his foundation, and no 
doubt welcomed the absorption of S. Bernard's hostel in the 
royal foundation of Queens' College. Anyhow, the founda- 
tion stone of the new building was laid on the 15th April 
1448. The outbreak of the Civil War stopped the works 
when the first court of the College was almost finished. 
Andrew Dokett, the first master, was still alive when Edward 
IV. came to the throne, and about the year 1465, he was 
fortunate to secure for his College the patronage of the new 
queen, Elizabeth Wydville. Elizabeth had been in earlier 
days a lady-in-waiting to Margaret of Anjou, and had her- 
self strongly sympathised with the Lancastrian party. It is 
probable, therefore, that in accepting the patronage of the 
College she did so, not in her character as Yorkist queen, but 
rather as desirous of completing the work of the old mistress 
whom she had faithfully served before the strange chances 
of destiny had brought her asa rival to the throne. At any 
rate, from this period onwards the position of the apostrophe 
after and not before the " s " in " Queens' ' adequately 
corresponds to the fact that the College commemorates not 
one, but two queens in its title. 

The earliest extant statutes appear to be those of the second 
foundress, the Queen Consort of Edward IV., revised at a later 
time under the authority of Henry VIII. It seems indeed 
likely that the absence of canon law from the subjects required 
by statute from all fellows, after regency in arts, and the pro- 
vision of Bible lectures in College, and divers English sermons 

to be preached in chapel by the fellows, indicates a somewhat 



remarkable reforming spirit for the end of the fifteenth 
century, and rather points to the conclusion that these pro- 
visions belong to the later revised code of Henry VIII. At 
the time of the foundation of Queen's College the plan of 
a collegiate building had been completely developed. It 
followed the lines not so much of a monastery, though it had, 
of course, some features in common with the monastic houses, 
but of the normal type of the large country houses or mansions 
of the fifteenth century. The late Professor Willis, in his 
archaeological lectures on Cambridge, was accustomed, we are 
told, to exhibit in support of this view a ground plan of Haddon 
Hall and Queens' College side by side. And certainly it is sur- 
prising to notice how striking is the similarity of the two plans. 
The east and west position of the chapel at Haddon Hall 
happens to be the reverse of that of Queens' College, but with 
that exception, and the position of the entrance gateway to the 
first quadrangle, the arrangement of the buildings in the two 
mansions is practically identical. The hall, buttery, and 
kitchen occupy in both the range of buildings between the 
two courts ; the private dining-room beyond the hall at 
Haddon is represented at Queens' College by the fellows' 
combination room ; the long gallery in the upper court of 
Haddon has more or less its counterpart at Queens' in the 
masters' gallery in the cloister court ; the upper entrance at 
Haddon is similarly placed to the passage to the old wooden 
bridge at Queens'. 

The principal court of Queens' was almost completed 

before the Wars of the Roses broke out. " It is," says 





> "I 




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Mr. J. W. Clark, " the earliest remaining quadrangle in 
Cambridge that can claim attention for real architectural 
beauty and fitness of design." It is built in red brick, and has 
a noble gateway flanked by octagonal turrets, and there are 
square towers at each external angle of the court. The 
employment of these towers is a peculiarity which perhaps 
offers presumptive evidence that the architect of the other 
two royal colleges of Eton and King's may also have been 
employed at Queens'. This court probably retains more of 
the aspect of ancient Cambridge than any other collegiate 
building in the town. The turret at the south-west angle of 
the great court, overlooking Silver Street and the town bridge 
and mill pond, adjoins the rooms which, according to tradition, 
were occupied by Erasmus, and whose top storey was used by 
him as a study. It is commonly known as The Tower of Eras- 
mus. " Queens' College," says Fuller, " accounteth it no small 
credit thereunto that Erasmus (who no doubt might have pickt 
and chose what house he pleased) preferred this for the place 
of his study for some years in Cambridge. Either invited 
thither with the fame of the learning and love of his friend 
Bishop Fisher, then master thereof, or allured with the situa- 
tion of this colledge so near the river (as Rotterdam, his native 
place, to the sea) with pleasant walks thereabouts." An 
interesting account of Erasmus' residence in Queens' is quoted 
by Mr. Searle 1 from a letter written by a fellow of the College, 
Andrew Paschal, Rector of Chedsey, in the year 1680, which 
pleasantly describes at least the traditional belief. 

1 "History of Queens'," p- i 54- 

169 Y 



" The staires which rise up to his studie at Queens' College in 
Cambr. doe bring into two of the fairest chambers in the ancient 
building ; in one of them which lookes into the hall and chief court, 

the Vice-President kept in my 
time ; in that adjoyning it was 
my fortune to be, when fellow. 
The chambers over are good 
lodgeing roomes ; and to one 
of them is a square turret ad- 
joyning, in the upper part of 
which is the study of Erasmus 
and over it leads. To that be- 
longs the best prospect about 
the Colledge, viz. upon the 
river, into the corne fields, and 
country adjoyning. So y 1 it 
might very well consist with 
the civility of the house to 
that great man (who was no 
fellow, and I think stayed not 
long there) to let him have 
that study. His sleeping roome 
might be either the President's, 
or to be neer to him the next. 
The roome for his servitor that 
above it, and through it he 
might goe to that studie, which 
for the height and neatnesse 
and prospect might easily take 
his phancy." 

sac-,. ; 


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It was in this study no doubt that much of the work was 

done for his edition of the New Testament in the original 



Greek, that epoch-making book which he published at Basle 
in 1 516; and from hence also he must have written those 
amusing letters to his friends, Ammonius, Dean Colet, Sir 
Thomas More, in which comments on the progress of his 
work alternate with humorous grumblings about the Cam- 
bridge climate, the plague, the wine, the food : " Here I 
live like a cockle shut up in his shell, stowing myself away 
in college, and perfectly mum over my books. ... I cannot 
go out of doors because of the plague. ... I am beset with 
thieves, and the wine is no better than vinegar. ... I do not 
like the ale of this place at all . . . if you could manage to 
send me a cask of Greek wine, the very best that can be 
bought, you w r ould be doing your friend a great kindness, 
but mind that it is not too sweet. ... I am sending you 
back your cask, which I have kept by me longer than I 
otherwise should have done, that I might enjoy the perfume 
at least of Greek wine. . . . My expenses here are enormous ; 
the profits not a brass farthing. Believe me as though I 
were on my oath, I have been here not quite five months, 
and yet have spent sixty nobles : while certain members of 
my (Greek) class have presented me with just a single one, 
which they had much difficulty in persuading me to accept. 
I have decided not to leave a stone unturned this winter, 
and in fact to throw out my sheet anchor. If this succeeds 
I will build my nest here ; if otherwise, I shall wing my 
flight — whither I know not." Perhaps there is some playful 
exaggeration in all this. Anyhow Erasmus stayed at Cam- 
bridge seven years in all. He may have been justly dis- 



appointed in his Greek class-room : " I shall have perhaps 
a larger gathering when I begin the grammar of Theodorus," 
he writes plaintively ; but disappointed there, he took refuge 
in his college study, and there, high up in the south-west 
tower of Queens', we may picture him, " outwatching the 
Bear " over the pages of S. Jerome, as Jerome himself in his 
time had outwatched it writing those same pages, eleven 
hundred years before, in his cell at Bethlehem ; or poring 
over the text of his Greek Testament and its translation, the 
boldest work of criticism and interpretation that had been 
conceived by any scholar for many a century, a Novum 
Instrumentum indeed, by which the scholars of the new 
learning were to restore to the centuries which followed, 
the old true theology which had been so long obscured by 
the subtleties of the schoolmen, the new and truer theology 
which while based on a foundation of sound method and 
historical apparatus rests also in the joyous and refreshing 
story of the Son of God, in that unique figure of a Divine 
Personality, round whom centre the love, the hopes, the 
fears, the joys of the coming ages. 

Queens' College has many claims upon the gratitude of 
English scholars and English churchmen — it would have 
been sufficient that she had been the " nursing mother " of 
John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester — " vere Episcopus, vere 
Theologus " — under whose cautious supervision Cambridge 
first tasted of the fruits of the Renascence, who " sat here 
governor of the schools not only for his learning's sake, but 

for his divine life " — but she can lay no claim to greater 



t -. 

5*312 "■■■' ^n|j^ 

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honour than this, that within her walls three hundred years 
ago, these words were written — they form part of the noble 
" Paraclesis " of the Novum Testamentum of Erasmus : — 

" If the footprints of Christ are anywhere shown to us, we kneel 
down and adore. Why do we not rather venerate the living and 
breathing picture of him in these books ? If the vesture of Christ 
be exhibited, where will we not go, to kiss it? Yet were his whole 
wardrobe exhibited, nothing could exhibit Christ more vividly and 
truly than these Evangelical writings. Statues of wood and stone 
we decorate with gold and gems for the love of Christ. They 
only profess to give us the form of his body; these books present 
us with a living image of his most holy mind. Were we to have 
seen him with our own eyes, we should not have so intimate a 
knowledge as they give of Christ, speaking, healing, dying, rising 
again, as it were, in our actual presence. 

" The sun itself is not more common and open to all than the 
teaching of Christ. For I utterly dissent from those who are un- 
willing that the Sacred Scriptures should be read by the unlearned 
translated into their vulgar tongue, as though Christ had taught 
such subtleties that they can scarcely be understood even by a few 
theologians, or as though the strength of the Christian Religion 
consisted in men's ignorance of it. The mysteries of kings it may 
be safer to conceal, but Christ wished his mysteries to be published 
as openly as possible. I wish that even the weakest woman should 
read the Gospel — should read the Epistles of Paul. And I wish 
these were translated into all languages, so that they might be read 
and understood, not only by Scots and Irishmen, but also by Turks 
and Saracens. To make them understood is surely the first step. 
It may be that they might be ridiculed by many, but some would 




take them to heart. I long that the husbandman should sing 
portions of them to himself as he follows the plough, that the 
weaver should hum them to the tune of his shuttle, that the 
traveller should beguile with their stories the tedium of his 
journey." l 

1 Erasmus, Novum Instrumentum, leaf aaa. 3 to bbb. 


II s 

, .--'■■iliiC. ,...,, 







"To London hence, to Cambridge thence, 
With thanks to thee, O Trinity ! 
That to thy hall, so passing all, 

I got at last. 
There joy I felt, there trim I dwelt, 
Then heaven from hell I shifted well 
With learned men, a number then, 
The time I past. 

When gains were gone and years grew on, 
And Death did cry, from London fly, 
In Cambridge then I found again 

A resting plot : 
In College best of all the rest, 
With thanks to thee, O Trinity ! 
Through thee and thine for me and mine, 

Some stay I got ! " 

— Thomas Tusser. 

The Foundation of Trinity Hall by Bishop Bateman of Norwich — On the Site 
of the Hostel of Student-Monks of Ely — Prior Crauden — Evidence of the 
Ely Obedientary Rolls — The College Buildings — The Old Hall — 
S. Edward's Church used as College Chapel — Hugh Latimer's Sermon on 
a Pack of Cards — Harvey Goodwin — Frederick Maurice — The Hall — 
The Library — Its Ancient Bookcases — The Foundation of S. Catherine's 

THUS sang Thomas Tusser — the author of " Five 
Hundred Points of Good Husbandry united to as 
many of Good Housewifery" — of Trinity Hall and 
his residence there about the year 1542. And the 

words of the homely old rhymer — the most fluent versifier, 

177 z 


I suppose, among farmers since Virgil, wise in his advice to 
others, most unlucky in the application of his own maxims — 
have been echoed in spirit by many generations of " Hall " 
men from his time onwards. And indeed there is hardly 
perhaps another College in Cambridge which stirs the hearts 
of its members with a more passionate enthusiasm of loyalty 
than this, which yet never speaks of itself as a "College," but 
always proudly as "The Hall." It was founded by William 
Bateman, Bishop of Norwich, in 1350, but it had an earlier 
origin than this. On the southern part of the present site 
there stood an old house, which had been provided some 
thirty years earlier for the use of the student-monks of Ely 
attending the University by the then Prior. This was John 
of Crauden, Prior of Ely from 1321 to 1341, a man of noble 
personal character, a model administrator of the great posses- 
sions of his abbey, a patron of art and learning, the friend on 
the one hand of Queen Philippa, and on the other of the 
greatest cathedral builder of the fourteenth century, Alan de 
Walsingham. The portrait bust of him, which may still be 
seen carved at the end of one of the hood moulds of the great 
octagon arches in the Minster, shows a strong, handsome face, 
dignified, benignant, pleasant ; a full, frank, eloquent eye ; 
a mouth intelligent and firm, and yet with a merry smile 
lurking unmistakably in its corner ; altogether such a man as 
we may well feel might not only rightly be Queen Philippa's 
friend, as the chronicler says, " propter amabilem et graciosam 
ipsius affabilitatem et eloquentiam," ' but one also who one 

1 vinglia Sacra, i. 650. 

J, . . 

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might expect to find anxious to maintain among his convent 
brothers the Benedictine ideal of knowledge and learning. 
It was no doubt to that end that somewhere about the year 
1325 he had purchased the house at Cambridge as a hostel 
for the use of the Ely monks. In the Obedientary Rolls of 
the monastery, still treasured in the muniment room of the 
cathedral, there is evidence that from his time onwards three 
or four of the Ely monks were constantly residing at Cam- 
bridge at the convent expense, taking their degrees there, 
and then returning to Ely. 1 

It is probable, however, that the residence of the Ely 
monks was, shortly after Crauden's time, transferred from 
this hostel to the rooms provided in Monk's College on the 
present site of Magdalene, for a register among the Ely muni- 
ments shows that in the twenty-fourth year of Edward III. 
John of Crauden's hostel was conveyed by the Prior and 
Convent to the Bishop of Norwich for the purpose of his 
proposed college. The old Monk's Hall was still standing 
in 1 73 1, for it is contained in a plan of the College of that 
date preserved in the College library. A note in Warren's 
" History of Trinity Hall " informs us that a part of it was 
destroyed in 1823. Warren himself speaks of it as " Y e Old 

1 In the Ely " Obedientary Rolls " I find, for example, the following entries for the 
expenses of these Cambridge Scholars of the Monastery in the account of the chamber- 
lain : " 20, Ed. III. scholaribus pro obolo de libra, 6£d. 3 1, 32, Ed. III. fratri S. de 
Banneham scholari pro pensione sua 1/1J. 40, Ed. III. Solut' 3 scholar' studentibus 
apud Cantabrig' 3/4^. Simoni de Banham incipienti in theologia 23, viz. id. de 
libra. 9, Hen. IV. dat' fFratri Galfrido Welyngton ad incepcionem suam in canone apud 
cantabrig' 6/8. 4, Hen. V. ffratribus Edmundo Walsingham et Henry Madingley ad 
incepcionem 3/4." 



Building for y e Monks, where y e Pigeon House is." Now 
all has vanished, unless perhaps some underground foundations 
in the garden of the Master's Lodge. 

The buildings of the College, in their general arrange- 
ment, have probably been little altered since their completion 
in the fourteenth century. They had the peculiarity of an 
entrance court between the principal court and the street, 
like the outer court of a monastery. The original gateway, 
however, at this entrance — the Porter's Court, as it was 
called at a later date — has been removed, and the College is 
now entered directly from the street. 

It is probable that the Hall, forming one half of the 

western side of the principal court, was built during the 

lifetime of the founder, as also was the original eastern range, 

rebuilt in the last century. This would give a date, 1355, 

for these two ranges. The buttery and the northern block 

of buildings belong to 1374. In early days Trinity Hall 

shared with Clare Hall the Church of S. John Zachary as 

a joint College chapel. When in connection with the 

building of King's College the Church of S. John was 

removed, two aisles were added to tbe chancel of S. 

Edward's Church for the accommodation of " The Hall " 

students. The present chapel appears to date from the end 

of the fourteenth, or probably the early part of the fifteenth 

century. The only architectural features, however, at present 

visible of mediaeval character are the piscina and the buttresses 

on the south side. 

The advowson of the Church of S. Edward, the north 



aisle of the chancel of which was for a time used as the 
College chapel, was acquired by the College in the middle of 
the fifteenth century, and has thus remained to our own day. 

" The complete control," says Mr. Maiden in his lately pub- 
lished "History of Trinity Hall," "of the Church by a College 
whose Fellows, in course of time, were more and more a lay body, 
while other Colleges continued to be exclusively clerical, might be 
expected to give opportunity for the ministrations of men whose 
opinions might not be those preferred by the dominant clerical party 
at the moment. In 1529, for instance, during the mastership of 
Stephen Gardiner be it observed, Hugh Latimer, who is said to have 
become a reformer from the persuasions of Bilney, Fellow of Trinity 
Hall, preached in S. Edward's on the Sunday before Christmas. He 
preached there often, but on this occasion he surpassed himself in 
originality, taking apparently a pack of cards as his text, and illustrat- 
ing from the Christmas game of Triumph, with hearts as ' triumph,' 
or trumps as we say, the superiority of heart-religion over the vain 
outward show of the superstitious ornaments of the other court 
cards. Buckenham, Prior of the Dominicans, answered him from 
the same pulpit, and preached on dice. Latimer answered him again. 
The whole must have been more entertaining than edifying." 

This tradition of independence, at any rate in pulpit 

teaching, though in less eccentric ways, has been retained 

by S. Edward's down to our own time. Here in 1832, 

Henry John Rose, the brother of Hugh James Rose, the 

Cambridge Tractarian, represented the moderate wing of the 

new Anglican party. Here, during the years preceding his 

promotion to the Deanery of Ely in 1858, Harvey Goodwin 

preached that series of sermons, simple, pithy, robust, which 

Sunday by Sunday crowded with undergraduates the Church 



of S. Edward for nearly eight years, as a church in a uni- 
versity city has seldom been crowded. Here, also, in 1871 
Frederick Denison Maurice — the most representative church- 
man probably of the nineteenth century, for it was he rather 
than Pusey or Newman, who, by his interpretation of the 
Doctrine of the Incarnation, has most profoundly moulded, 
inspired, and transfigured the Church ideals of the present — 
found an opportunity of preaching when too many of the 
parochial pulpits of England were closed to him. 

The grave and the trivial mingle in college as in other 
human affairs. And so it came about that the possession of 
the spiritualities of S. Edward's parish compelled the Fellows 
of the Hall to keep an eye on its temporalities, and from 
time to time to beat its bounds. Here is one record of 
such " beating." It was May 23rd, viz., Ascension Day in 
1734, when the Fellows deputed for the purpose started from 
the Three Tuns and went by the Mitre, the White Horse, 
and the Black Bull before reaching S. Catherine's Hall. 
They penetrated King's, but regretted to find that here the 
Brewhouse was shut up. They encircled Clare and Trinity 
Hall, therefore, and came back to the Three Tuns whence 
they had started two hours before. They had not, quite 
evidently — for the full circuit is not great — been walking 
all the time. The account ends : 

" N.B. — One bottle of white wine given us at y e Tuns, and one 
bottle of white wine given us at the Mitre. Ale and bread and 
cheese given by the Minister of St. Edward's at y" Bench in our 
College Backside. Mem. — To be given by y e Minister twelve half- 


■ r 






penny loaves, sixpenny worth of Cheshire cheeses, seven quarts and a 
half of ale in y e great stone bottle for y c people in general, and a 
tankard of ale for each church warden." 1 

It will be remembered that in the last chapter, in speak- 
ing of the books left to Corpus Christi College by Arch- 
bishop Parker, we mentioned that provision of his deed of 
gift by which under certain contingencies the books were 
to be transferred from Corpus to Trinity Hall. It is quite 
probable that this provision drew the attention of the 
authorities of the latter college to the possible need of a 
library. It is unknown, however, when exactly the present 
library was built. The style proclaims Elizabeth's reign 
or thereabouts. Professor Willis conjectured about 1600. 
But whatever the date may be, it is very fortunate that the 
hand of the restorer which fell so heavily upon so many 
other of the College buildings should have mercifully spared 
the library, which to this day retains its early simplicity of 
character, leaving it one of the most interesting of the old 
book rooms in the University. Mr. J. G. Clark in his 
valuable essay on the Development of Libraries and their 
fittings, published two years ago under the title "The 
Care of Books," has thus spoken of the library of Trinity 
Hall :— 

"The Library of Trinity Hall is thoroughly mediaeval in plan, 
being a long narrow room on the first floor of the north side of the 
second court, 65 feet long by 20 feet wide, with eight equi-distant 
windows in each side wall, and a window of four lights in the 

1 Warren, Appendix cxvi. 


western gable. It was built about 1600, but the fittings are even 
later, having been added between 1626 and 1645 during the master- 
ship of Thomas Eden, LL.D. They are therefore a deliberate return 
to ancient forms at a time when a different type had been adopted 

" There are four desks and six seats on each side of the room, 
placed as usual, at right angles to the side walls, in the interspaces of 
the windows, respectively. 

"These lecterns are of oak, 6 feet 7 inches long, and 7 feet high, 
measured to the top of the ornamental finial. There is a sloping 
desk at the top, beneath which is a single shelf. The bar for the 
chains passes under the desk, through the two vertical ends of the 
case. At the end furthest from the wall, the hasp of the lock is 
hinged to the bar and secured by two keys. Beneath the shelf there 
is at either end a slip of wood which indicates that there was once 
a movable desk which could be pulled out when required. The 
reader could therefore consult his convenience, and work either sitting 
or standing. For both these positions the heights are very suitable, 
and at the bottom of the case was a plinth on which he could set his 
feet. The seats between each pair of desks were of course put up at 
the same time as the desks themselves. They show an advance in 
comfort, being divided into two so as to allow of support to the 
readers' backs." ! 

The garden of the Hall was laid out early in the last 
century, with formal walks and yew hedges and a raised 
terrace overlooking the river. The well-known epigram 
quoted by Gunning in his "Reminiscences" 2 has for its 
topic not this garden but the small triangular plot next to 
Trinity Hall Lane, which was planted and surrounded by 
a paling in 1793, by Dr. Joseph Jowett, the then tutor. 

1 " Care of Books," pp. 168-69. - Vol. ii. 30. 



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"A little garden little Jowett made 
And fenced it with a little palisade, 
But when this little garden made a little talk, 
He changed it to a little gravel walk ; 
If you would know the mind of little Jowett 
This little garden don't a little show it." 

It has usually been attributed to Archdeacon Wrangham. 
There are several versions of it, and a translation into Latin, 
which runs as follows : — 

" Exiguum hunc hortum, fecit Jowettulus iste 
Exiguus, vallo et muni it exiguo : 
Exiguo hoc horto forsan Jowettulus iste 
Exiguus mentem prodidit exiguam." 

At the end of the fifteenth century, just twenty years 

after the fall of Constantinople, Dr. Robert Woodlark, third 

Provost of King's College and some time Chancellor of the 

University, founded the small " House of Learning," which 

he called S. Catherine's Hall, possibly because Henry VI., 

whose mother was a Catherine, was his patron, or possibly 

because at this time S. Catherine of Alexandria, the patron 

saint of scholars, was a popular saint. In the statutes he 

says, " I have founded and established a college or hall to the 

praise, glory, and honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the 

most glorious Virgin Mary, His mother, and of the Holy 

Virgin Katerine, for the exaltation of the Christian faith, 

for the defence and furtherance of the Holy Church, and 

growth of science and faculties of philosophy and sacred 

theology." In the autumn of 1473 a Master and three 

Fellows took up their residence in the small court which had 

185 2 A 


just been built on a site in Milne Street, close to the Bull 
Inn. The chapel and library, however, do not appear to 
have been completed until a few years later. In 1520 a 
second court was added, and a century later, in 1634, some 
new buildings were commenced to the north of the principal 
court and adjacent to Queen's Street. These buildings, 
which are the only old buildings that still remain, were 
completed two years later. Between 1673-97 all the rest of 
the old buildings were pulled down and the College rebuilt. 
In 1704 the new chapel was built on the site of the stables 
of Thomas Hobson, whose just but despotic method of 
dealing with his customers gave rise to the phrase " Hobson's 
Choice." In 1757, the houses which hitherto had concealed 
the College from the High Street were removed. 




" Yes, since his dayes a cocke was in the fen, 
I knowe his voyce among a thousand men : 
He taught, he preached, he mended every wrong : 
But, Coridon, alas ! no good thing abideth long. 
He All was a Cocke, he wakened us from sleepe 
And while we slumbered he did our foldes keep : 
No cur, no foxes, nor butchers' dogges would 
Coulde hurte our folds, his watching was so good ; 
The hungry wolves which did that time abounde, 
What time he crowed abashed at the sounde. 
This Cocke was no more abashed at the Foxe 
Than is a Lion abashed at the Oxe." 

— Alexander Barclay, Monk of Ely, 15 13. 

The New Learning in Italy and Germany — The English "Pilgrim Scholars" : 
Grey, Tiptoft, Linacre, Grocyn — The practical Genius of England — 
Bishops Rotherham, Alcock, and Fisher — Alcock, diplomatist, financier, 
architect — The Founder of Jesus College — He takes as his model Jesus 
College, Rotherham — His Object the Training of a Preaching Clergy — 
The Story of the Nunnery of S. Rhadegund — Its Dissolution — Conver- 
sion of the Conventual Church into a College Chapel — The Monastic 
Buildings, Gateway, Cloister, Chapter House — The Founder a Better 
Architect than an Educational Reformer — The Jesus Roll of eminent Men 
from Cranmer to Coleridge. 

THE historical importance of the New Learning 
depends ultimately on the fact that its influence on 
the Western world broadened out into a new capacity 
for culture in general, which took various forms 

according to the different local or national conditions with 



which it came into contact. In Italy, its land of origin, the 
Classical Revival was felt mainly as an aesthetic ideal, an 
instrument for the self-culture of the individual, expressing 
itself in delight for beauty of form and elegance of literary 
style, bringing to the life of the cultured classes a social 
charm and distinction of tone, which, however, it is difficult 
sometimes to distinguish from a merely refined paganism. In 
France and Spain too, where the basis of character was also 
Latin, the aesthetic spirit of classical antiquity was readily 
assimilated. To a French or a Spanish scholar sympathy 
with the pagan spirit was instinctive and innate. The 
Teutonic genius, however, both on the side of Literature and 
of Art, remained sturdily impervious to the more aesthetic 
side of the Italian Renaissance. In Germany the aesthetic 
influence was evident enough — we can trace it plainly in the 
writings of Erasmus and Melancthon, though with them 
Italian humanism was always a secondary aim subservient to 
a greater end — but it had a strongly marked character of its 
own, wholly different from the Italian. The Renaissance in 
Germany indeed we rightly know by the name of the Refor- 
mation, and the paramount task of the German scholars of the 
New Learning we recognise to have been the elucidation of 
the true meaning of the Bible. Similarly in England the 
scholarly mind was at first little affected by the aesthetic 
considerations which meant so much to a Frenchman or an 
Italian. A few chosen Englishmen, it is true, " pilgrim 
scholars" they were called — William Grey, Bishop of Ely, 
John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, Thomas Linacre, William 


Grocyn stand out perhaps most conspicuously — were drawn 
to Italy by the rumours of the marvellous treasures rescued 
from monastic lumber rooms, or conveyed over seas by 
fugitive Greeks, but they returned to England to find that 
there was little they could do except to bequeath the books 
and manuscripts they had collected to an Oxford or a Cam- 
bridge College, and hope for happier times when scholars 
would be found to read them. It was not indeed until the 
little group of Hellenists — Erasmus and Linacre and Grocyn 
and Colet — had shown the value of Greek thought as an inter- 
preter of the New Testament, that any enthusiasm for the 
New Learning could be awakened in England. An increase 
of a knowledge of the Bible was worth working for, not the 
elegancies of an accurate Latin style. Englishmen in the 
fifteenth century were busy in the task of developing trade 
and commerce, and their intellectual tone took colour from 
their daily work. It became eminently utilitarian and prac- 
tical. An English scholar was willing to accept the New 
Learning if you would prove to him that it was useful or 
was true, that it was only beautiful did not at first much 
affect him. It was only therefore with an eye to strictly 
practical results that at the universities the New Learning 
was welcomed, and even there tardily. 

Nowhere perhaps is this practical tendency of English 
scholarship at this period more characteristically shown than in 
the Cambridge work of Thomas Alcock and John Fisher, the 
founders respectively of Jesus College and of the twin colleges 

of Christ's and John's. Alcock and Fisher were both of 



them Yorkshiremen, born and educated at Beverley in the 
Grammar School connected with the Minster there, and both 
proceeding from thence to Cambridge : Alcock in all likeli- 
hood, though there is some doubt about this, to Pembroke, 
where he took his LL.D. degree in or before 1461 ; Fisher 
to Michaelhouse, of which he became a Fellow in 1 49 1 . 

Of Alcock, the historian Bale has said that " no one in 
England had a greater reputation for sanctity." He was 
equally remarkable for his practical qualities, as a diplomatist, 
as a financier, as an architect. He had twice been a Roval 
Commissioner, under Richard III. and under Henry VII., to 
arrange treaties with Scotland. By an arrangement, of 
which no similar instance is known, he had conjointly held 
the office of Lord Chancellor with Bishop Rotherham of 
Lincoln, he himself at that time ruling the diocese of 
Rochester. As early as 1462 he had been made Master of 
the Rolls. In 1476 he was translated to Worcester, and at 
the same time became Lord President of Wales. On the 
accession of Henry VII., he was made Comptroller of the 
Royal Works and Buildings, an office for which he was 
especially fitted, it is said, by his skill as an architect. In 
i486 he was translated to the See of Ely and again made 
Lord Chancellor. 

It was as Bishop of Ely that he undertook the foundation 

of Jesus College. There can, I think, be little doubt that for 

the idea of his projected college he was indebted to his old 

Cambridge friend and co-chancellor, Thomas Rotherham, at 

this time Archbishop of York. At any rate, it is noteworthy 



that each of the friends founded in his Diocese — the Arch- 
bishop at his native place of Rotherham, the Bishop of Ely at 
Cambridge — a college dedicated to the name of Jesus. Jesus 
College, Rotherham, was founded in 14 81 ; Jesus College, 
Cambridge, followed fifteen years later. The main object of 
the two prelates was probably the same. In the license for 
the foundation of Rotherham's college its objects are stated 
to be twofold : " To preach the Word of God in the Parish 
of Rotherham and in other places in the Diocese of York ; 
and to instruct gratuitously, in the rules of grammar and 
song, scholars from all parts of England, and especially from 
the Diocese of York." There is no reason to suppose that 
the needs of the Diocese of Ely, even fifteen years later, were 
any different. For the fact that Jesus College, Rotherham, 
should consist of ten persons — a provost, six choristers, and 
three masters — who can teach respectively grammar, music, 
and writing, the Archbishop gave the fanciful reason, that 
as he, its founder, had offended God in His ten command- 
ments, so he desired the benefit of the prayers of ten persons 
on his behalf. Alcock's motive for fixing the number of 
his new Society of Jesus at Cambridge at thirteen seems to 
have been no less characteristic. Thirteen, the number of 
the original Christian Society of Our Lord and His Apostles, 
was the common complement of the professed members of 
a monastic society, and may in all likelihood have been 
the original number of the nuns of S. Rhadegund, whose 
house the Bishop was about to suppress to found his new 




" Rotherham's College, according to its measure, was intended to 
meet two pressing needs of his time, and especially of northern 
England — a preaching clergy, and boys trained for the service of the 
Church. At the end of the fifteenth century ' both theology and the 
art of preaching seemed in danger of general neglect. At the English 
universities, and consequently throughout the whole country, the 
sermon was falling into almost complete disuse.' The disfavour with 
which it was regarded by the heads of the Church was largely due to fear 
of the activity of the Lollards, which had brought all popular harangues 
and discourses under suspicion. When the embers of heresy had 
been extinguished, here and there a reforming churchman sought to 
restore among the parish clergy the old preaching activity. In the 
wide unmanageable dioceses of the north the lack of an educated, 
preaching priesthood was most apparent. Bishop Stanley is probably 
only echoing the language of Alcock when he begins and closes his 
statutes with an exhortation to the society, whom he addresses as 
' scholars of Jesus,' so to conduct themselves ' that the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ may be honoured, the clergy multiplied, and the 
people called to the praise of God.' He enacts that of the five 
Foundation Fellows (one of Alcock's having been suppressed) four 
shall be devoted to the study of theology, and he requires that they 
shall be chosen from natives of five counties, which, owing to the 
imperfections of the single existing copy of his statutes, are unspecified. 
If, as is likely, this county restriction was re-introduced by Stanley 
from the provisions made by Alcock, it is natural to surmise that 
the founder's native county was one of those preferred. Certain it is 
that his small society had a Yorkshireman, Chubbes of Whitby, for 
its first master. He had been a Fellow of Pembroke, and probably 
from the same society and county came one of the original Fellows 
of Jesus, William Atkynson. 

"The same fear of Lollardism which had stifled preaching had 
caused the teaching profession to be regarded with jealousy by the 
authorities of the Church. In a limited part of north-eastern 



England, William Byngham, about the year 1439, found seventy 
schools void for ' grete scarstie of Maistres of Gramar ' which fifty 
years previously had been in active use. His foundation of God's 
House at Cambridge was designed to supply trained masters to these 
derelict schools. The boys' schools attached to Rotherham's and 
Alcock's Foundations were intended to meet the same deficiency. 
Presumably Alcock meant that one or other of his Fellows should 
supply the teaching, for his foundation did not include a school- 
master. The linking of a grammar school with a house of university 
students was of course no novelty ; the connection of Winchester 
with New College had been copied by Henry VI. in the association 
of Eton and King's. But Alcock's plan of including boys and 
' dons ' within the same walls, and making them mix in the common 
life and discipline of hall and chapel, if not absolutely a new thing, 
had no nearer prototype in an English university than Walter de 
Merton's provisions in the statutes of his College for a Grammaticus 
and Pueri. Though the school was meant to supply a practical need, 
the pattern of it seems to have been suggested by Alcock's mediaeval 
sentiment. There is indeed no evidence or likelihood that S. 
Rhadegund's Nunnery maintained a school, but the same monastic 
precedent which Alcock apparently followed in fixing the number of 
his society prescribed the type of his school. It stood in the quarter 
where monastic schools were always placed, next the gate, in the old 
building which had served the nuns as their almonry." ' 

The story of the nunnery of S. Rhadegund, which, 
under the auspices of Bishop Alcock, became Jesus Col- 
lege, is an interesting one. Luckily, the material for that 
history is fairly complete. The nuns bequeathed a large mass 
of miscellaneous documents — charters, wills, account rolls — 
to the College, and the scrupulous care with which they 

1 "Jesus College," by A. Gray, p. 32. 

I93 2 B 


were originally housed, and not less, perhaps, the wholesome 

neglect which has since respected their repose in the College 

muniment room, have fortunately preserved them intact to 

the present time, and have enabled the present tutor of the 

College, Mr. Arthur Gray, to reconstruct a fairly complete 

picture of this isolated woman's community in an alien world 

of men in pre-Academic Cambridge, and of the depravation 

and decay which came of that isolation, and which ended in 

the first suppression in England of an independent House of 

Religion. I am indebted for the following particulars to Mr. 

Gray's monograph on the priory of S. Rhadegund, published 

a year or two ago by the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 

and to the first chapter of his lately published College 


Who the nuns were that first settled on the Green-Croft 

by the river bank below Cambridge, and whence they came 

thither, and by what title they became possessed of their 

original site, the documents they have handed down to us 

across the centuries apparently do not record. It is true 

that in the letters patent of Henry VII. for the dissolution 

of the nunnery and the erection of a college in its room it is 

asserted — evidently on the representation of Bishop Alcock — 

that S. Rhadegund's Priory was " of the foundation and 

patronage of the Bishop, as in right of his Cathedral Church 

of Ely." The nun's "original cell" was no doubt of the 

Benedictine Order, and the great Priory of Ely, fifteen 

miles away down the river, was also Benedictine, and the 

good Bishop may have been right in his assertion of the con- 



nection between the two, but it is a little doubtful whether he 
could have given chapter and verse for his assertion. What is 
certain is this, that Nigel, the second Bishop of Ely, in the 
opening years of Stephen's reign, gave to the nuns their earliest 
charter. It is addressed with Norman magnificence " to all 
barons and men of S. Etheldrytha, cleric or lay, French or 
English," and it grants for a rent of twelve pence, " to the 
nuns of the cell lately established without the vill of Cante- 
bruge," certain land lying near to other land belonging to 
the same cell. To the friendly interest of the same Bishop 
it seems probable that the nuns owed their first considerable 
benefaction. This was a parcel of ground, consisting of two 
virgates and six acres of meadow and four cottars with their 
tenure in the neighbouring village of Shelford, granted to them 
by a certain William the Monk. The fact that after seven 
centuries and a half the successors of the nuns of S. Rhade- 
gund, the Master and Fellow of Jesus College, still hold 
possession of the same property is not only a remarkable 
instance of continuity of title, but also, let us hope, is sufficient 
proof that the original donor had come by his title honestly 
— a fact about which there might otherwise have been some 
suspicion, when we read such a record as this of this same 
William the Monk in the Historia E/ie/isis of Thomas of Ely : 
" With axes and hammers, and every implement of masonry 
he profanely assailed the shrine (of S. Etheldreda, the 
Foundress Saint in the Church of Ely), and with his own 
hand robbed it of its metal." However, it is something that 
further on in the same record we may read : " He lived 



to repent it bitterly. He, who had once been extra- 
ordinarily rich and had lacked for nothing, was reduced to 
such extreme poverty as not even to have the necessaries of 
life. At last when he had lost all and knew not whither to 
turn himself, by urgent entreaty he prevailed on the Ely 
brethren to receive him into their order, and there with 
unceasing lamentation, tears, vigils, and prayers deploring 
his guilt, he ended his days in sincere penitence." 

Other benefactions followed that of William the Monk, 
lands, customs, tithes, fishing rights, advowsons of churches. 
At some time in the reign of Henry II. the nuns acquired 
the advowson of All Saints Church — All Saints in the Jewry 
— a living which still belongs to the Masters and Fellows of 
Jesus, although the old church standing in the open space 
opposite the gate of John's was removed in the middle of the 
last century, and is now represented by the memorial cross 
placed on the vacant spot and by the fine new church of All 
Saints facing Jesus College. The advowson of S. Clements 
followed in the year 1 21 5, given to the nuns by an Alder- 
man of the Cambridge Guild Merchants. Altogether the 
nunnery, though never a large house, seems to have acquired 
a comfortable patrimony. 

"The Account Rolls which the departing sisters left behind them 
in 1496 reveal pretty fully the routine of their lives. Books — save for 
the casual mention of the binding of the lives of the saints — were none 
of their business, and works of charity, excepting the customary dole 
to the poor on Maundy Thursday, and occasional relief to ' poor 
soldiers disabled in the wars of Our Lord the King,' scarcely con- 



^gf-fi^ ^ 



cerned them more. The duties of hospitality in the Guest House 
make the Cellaress a busy woman. They cost a good deal, but are 
not unprofitable ; the nuns take in ' paying guests,' daughters of 
tradesmen and others. Being ladies, the sisters neither toil nor spin ; 
but the Prioress and the Grangeress have an army of servants, whose 
daily duties have to be assigned to them ; carters and ploughmen have 
to be sent out to the scattered plots owned by the Nunnery in the 
open fields about Cambridge; the neatherd has to drive the cattle 
to distant Willingham fen ; the brewer has instructions for malting 
and brewing the ' peny-ale ' which serves the nuns for ' bevers ' ; and 
the women servants are despatched to work in the dairy, to weed the 
garden, or to weave and to make candles in the hospice. Once in 
a while a party of the nuns, accompanied by their maid-servants, takes 
boat as far as to Lynn, there to buy stock-fish and Norway timber, 
and to fetch a letter for the Prioress." ' 

There is not much sign, alas ! in all the record of any great 
devotion to religion, such as we might have expected to find 
in regard to such a House. Indeed, it would seem that there 
was seldom a time in the history of the Nunnery when a 
visit from the Bishop of the Diocese or from one of his 
commissioners on a round of inspection was other than a 
much-resented occurrence. Discipline, indeed, appears to have 
been generally lax in the Nunnery, and the sisters or some of 
them easily got permission to gad outside the cloister. Scandal 
is a key which generally unlocks the cloister gate and permits 
a glance into the interior shadows. Bene vixit qua bene 

" Not such was Margaret Cailly, whose sad story was the gossip 
of the nuns' parlour in 1389. She came of an old and reputable 

1 " History of Jesus," A. Gray, p. 1 6. 


family which had furnished mayors and bailiffs to Cambridge and 
had endowed the nuns with land at Trumpington. For reasons 
sufficiently moving her, which we may only surmise, she escaped from 
the cloister, discarded her religious garb, and sought hiding in the 
alien diocese of Lincoln. But it so happened that Archbishop 
Courtenay that year was making metropolitical visitation of that 
diocese, and it was the ill-fortune of Margaret, ' a sheep wandering 
from the fold among thorns,' to come under his notice. The 
Archbishop, solicitous that ' her blood be not required at our 
hands,' handed her over to the keeping of our brother of Ely. 
The Bishop in turn passed her on to the custody of her own Prioress, 
with injunctions that she should be kept in close confinement, under 
exercise of salutary penance, until she showed signs of contrition 
for her ' excesses ' ; and further that when the said Margaret first 
entered the chapter-house she should humbly implore pardon of the 
Prioress and her sisters for her offences. The story ends for us at 
Margaret's prison-door." ' 

Such a story, more or less typical, I fear, of much and long 
continued lax discipline, prepares us for the end. When Bishop 
Alcock visited the House in 1497, we are not surprised 
perhaps at the evidence which is set forth in the Letters 
Patent authorising the foundation of his College in the place 
of the Nunnery. The buildings and properties of the house 
are said to be dilapidated and wasted " owing to the improvi- 
dence, extravagance, and incontinence of the nuns resulting 
from their proximity to the University." Two nuns only 
remain ; one of them is professed elsewhere, the other is in- 
famis. They are in abject want, utterly unable to maintain 
Divine service or the works of mercy and piety required 

1 " History of Jesus," A. Gray, p. 18. 


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of them, and are ready to depart, leaving the home 

From the nuns of S. Rhadegund then Jesus College 
received no heritage of noble ideal. Two things only they 
have left behind them for which they merit gratitude. 
Firstly, a bundle of deeds and manuscripts, inconsiderable to 
them, very valuable to the scholars and historians of the 
future ; and secondly, their fine old church and monastic 

In writing in a previous chapter of the buildings of 

Queens' we drew attention to the fact that the general plan of 

the College followed in the main the lines of a large country 

house such as Haddon Hall. And in degree this is true of 

the other college buildings in Cambridge. A mere glance at 

aground-plan of Jesus will show at once that the arrangement 

of the buildings is entirely different from that of any other 

college at Cambridge, and it is clearly derived from that of a 

monastery. This accords with what we know of its history. 

However dilapidated the old Nunnery may have become 

through the poverty and neglect of the nuns, the outward 

walls of solid clunch, which under a facing of later brick, still 

testify to the durability of the Nunnery builders, were still 

practically intact, and Bishop Alcock had too much practical 

skill as an architect to destroy buildings which he could so 

easily adapt to the needs of his college, and harmonise to 

fifteenth century fashions in architecture. 

In his conversion of the Nunnery buildings to the pur- 



poses of his college, Bishop Alcock grouped the buildings he 
required round the original cloister of the nuns, increasing 
the size of that cloister by the breadth of the north aisle of 
the Conventual Church which he pulled down. The hall 
was placed on the north side, the library on the west. The 
kitchens and offices were in the angle of the cloister between 
the hall and library. The master's lodge at the south-west 
corner was partly constructed out of the altered nave of the 
church, and partly out of new buildings connecting this south- 
western corner of the cloister with the gate of entrance. 
This gateway, approached by a long gravelled path between 
high walls, known popularly as " the chimney," is one of 
the most picturesque features of the College. It is usually 
ascribed to Bishop Alcock, but on architectural evidence only. 
It is thus described by Professor Willis : — 

"The picturesque red-brick gateway tower of Jesus College 
(1497), although destitute of angle-turrets, is yet distinguished from 
the ground upwards by a slight relief, by stone quoins, and by having 
its string courses designedly placed at different levels from those of 
the chambers on each side of it. The general disposition of the 
ornamentation of its arch and of the wall above it furnished the model 
for the more elaborate gate-houses at Christ's College and St. John's 
College. The ogee hood-mould rises upwards, and the stem of its 
finial terminates under the base of a handsome tabernacle which 
occupies the centre of the upper stage, with a window on each side of 
it. Each of the spandrel spaces contains a shield, and a larger shield 
is to be found in the triangular field between the hood-mould and the 

Professor Willis thus describes also the Conventual Church 



and the changes which were made by the Bishop in his 
conversion of it into a college chapel. 

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" The church . . . presented an arrangement totally different 
from that of the chapel of Jesus College at the present day. It was 
planned in the form of a cross, with a tower in the centre, and had 
in addition to a north and south transept, aisles on the north and 



south sides of the eastern limb, flanking it along half the extent of 
its walls, and forming chapels which opened to the chancel by two 
pier arches in each wall. The structure was completed by a nave of 
seven piers with two side aisles. . . . (The church) was an admirable 
specimen of the architecture of its period, and two of the best pre- 
served remaining portions, the series of lancet windows on the north 
and south aisles of the eastern limb, and the arcade that ornaments 
the inner surface of the tower walls, will always attract attention and 
admiration for the beauty of their composition. 

" Under the direction of Bishop Alcock the side aisles, both of 
the chancel and of the nave, were entirely removed, the pier arches 
by which they had communicated with the remaining centre portion 
of the building were walled up, and the place of each arch was 
occupied by a perpendicular window of the plainest description. 
The walls were raised, a flat roof was substituted for the high- 
pitched roof of the original structure, large perpendicular windows 
were inserted in the gables of the chancel and south transept, and 
lastly, two-thirds of the nave were cut off from the church by a wall, 
and fitted up partly as a lodge for the master, partly as chambers for 

"As for the portion set apart for the chapel of the college, the 
changes were so skilfully effected and so completely concealed by plaster 
within and without, that all trace and even knowledge of the old aisles 
was lost; but in the course of preparations for repairs in 1846 the 
removal of some of the plaster made known the fact that the present 
two south windows of the chancel were inserted in walls which were 
themselves merely the filling-up of a pair of pier-arches, and that 
these arches, together with the piers upon which they rested, and the 
responds whence they sprang, still existed in the walls. When this 
key to the secret of the church had been supplied, it was resolved to 
push the inquiry to the uttermost ; all the plaster was stripped off 
the inner face of the walls ; piers and arches were brought to light 
again in all directions : old foundations were sought for on the 





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outside of the building, and a complete and systematic examination 
of the plan and structure of the original Church was set on foot, 
which led to very satisfactory results." ' 

To-day the completely restored church, the work at 
varying intervals from 1849 to 1869 of Salvin and Pugin and 
Bodley, forms one of the most beautiful and interesting college 
chapels in Cambridge. An important series of stained glass 
windows were executed by Mr. William Morris from the 
designs of Burne-Jones between 1873-77. In 1893 the Rev. 
Osmund Fisher, a former Dean of the College, at this time 
elected an Honorary Fellow, remembering to have seen in 
his undergraduate days of fifty years before indications of old 
Gothic work in the wall of the cloister, during some repair 
of the plaster work, obtained leave of the Master to investi- 
gate the wall. This led to the discovery of the beautiful 
triple group of early English arches and doorway which 
formed the original entrance to the chapter house of the 
Nunnery, one of the most charming bits of thirteenth century 
architectural grouping in all Cambridge. 

Bishop Alcock was probably a better architect than he 
was an educational reformer. He was successful enough in 
converting the fabric of the dissolved Nunnery into college 
buildings. It may be doubted whether he was equally suc- 
cessful in translating his friend Archbishop Rotherham's ideal 
of a grammar school college into a working institution. In 
the constitution which he gave to his college there were to be 
places found for both Fellows and boys — Scholares and Puen — 

1 Willis and Clark's " Architectural History of Cambridge," vol. is. p. 123. 

209 2 D 


but the Scholares were obviously to be men, and the Paeri 
simply schoolboys, for they were to be under fourteen years 
of age on admission ; and Juvenes, undergraduate scholars, 
did not enter into his plan. The amended statutes of his suc- 
cessors, Bishops Stanley and West, gave some definition to 
the founder's scheme, but they did not materially modify it. 
Within fifty years, in fact, from its foundation, Jesus College, 
as Alcock had conceived it, had become an anachronism, and 
the claustral community of student priests with their school- 
boy acolytes, not seriously concerned with true education, and 
unvivified by contact with the real student scholar, came near 
to perishing, as a thing born out of due season. The dawn of 
what might seem to be a better state of things only began 
with the endowment of scholarships — scholarships, that is to 
say, in the modern sense — in the reign of Edward VI. It 
was only, however, with the university reforms of the nine- 
teenth century that the proportion of college revenue allotted 
to such endowment fund was reasonably assessed. 

And yet with this somewhat meagre scholarship equip- 
ment the roll of eminent men belonging to Jesus College is 
a worthy one. On the very first page of that roll we are 
confronted with the name of Cranmer. We do not know 
the name of any student whose admission to the College 
preceded his. Wary and sagacious then, as in later life, he 
had resisted the tempting offer of a Fellowship at Wolsey's 
new college of Christ Church at Oxford to come to 
Cambridge, there, it is true at first, " to be nursed in the 

grossest kind of sophistry, logic, philosophy, moral and natural 



(not in the text of the old philosophers, but chiefly in the 
dark riddles of Duns and other subtle questionists), to his age 
of 22 years," but shortly, having taken his B.A. degree in 
151 i, to receive from Erasmus, who in that year began to 
lecture at Cambridge as Lady Margaret Reader, his first bent 
towards those studies which led eventually to the publication 
of his " Short Instruction into Christian Religion," which it 
had been better had he himself more closely followed, and 
possibly towards that opportunist policy, which in the event 
ended so sadly for himself, and meant so much, both of evil and 
of good, to the future of both Church and State in England. 
Closely associated with Cranmer were other Jesus men, noted 
theologians of the reforming party ; — John Bale, afterwards 
Bishop of Ossory, called " bilious Bale " by Fuller because of 
the rancour of his attacks on his papal opponents, Geoffry 
Downs, Thomas Goodrich, afterwards Bishop of Ely, John 
Edmunds, Robert Okyng, and others. In the list of succeed- 
ing archbishops claimed by the College as Jesus men occur 
the names of Herring, Hutton, Sterne. The Sterne family 
indeed contribute not a few members through several genera- 
tions to the College, not the least eminent being the author 
of "Tristram Shandy" and "The Sentimental Journey." 
The portraits of both Laurence Sterne and his great grand- 
father the Archbishop hang on the walls of the dining- 
hall, the severe eyes of the Caroline divine looking across 
as if with much disfavour at the trim and smiling figure of 
his descendant, the young cleric so unlike his idea of what 
a priest and scholar should be. Other than " Shandean " 



influence in the College is, however, suggested by the name 
of Henry Venn among the admissions of 1742, when he 
migrated to Jesus after three months' residence at S. John's, 
and exercised an influence prophetic of the great movement 
of Cambridge evangelicalism, prolonged far into the next 
century by Venn's pupil and friend, Charles Simeon. It is 
probable, however, that there is no more brilliant page in the 
history of Jesus College than that which tells the story of 
the last decade of the seventeenth century, and which contains 
the names of William Otter, E. D. Clarke, Robert Malthus, 
and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Coleridge was elected a 
Rustat Scholar in 1791 and a Foundation Scholar in 1793, 
but he gained no academic distinction. There was no 
classical tripos in those days, and to obtain a Chancellor's 
medal it was necessary that a candidate should have obtained 
honours in mathematics, for which Coleridge had all a poet's 
abhorrence. Among the poems of his college days may be 
remembered, "A Wish written in Jesus Wood, Feb. 10, 1792," 
and the well-known " Monologue to a young Jackass in 
Jesus Piece." Another poem more worthy of record perhaps, 
though he scribbled it in one of the College chapel prayer- 
books, is one of regretful pathos on the neglected " hours ot 
youth," which finds a later echo in his " Lines on an Autumnal 
Evening," where he alludes to his undergraduate days at 
Jesus : — 

"When from the Muses' calm abode 
I came, with learning's meed not unbestowed ; 
Whereas she twined a laurel round my brow, 
And met my kiss, and half returned my vow." 


And with that quotation from the Jesus poet we may 
perhaps close this chapter, only adding one word of hearty 
agreement with that encomium which was passed upon the 
College by King James, who, because of the picturesqueness 
of its old buildings and the beauty and charm of its surround- 
ings, spoke of Jesus College as Musarum Cantabrigiensium 
Museum^ and also with that decision which on a second visit 
to Cambridge His Majesty wisely gave, that " Were he to 
choose, he would pray at King's, dine at Trinity, and study 
and sleep at Jesus." 




"No more as once in sunny Avignon, 
The poet-scholar spreads the Homeric page, 
And gazes sadly, like the deaf at song : 
For now the old epic voices ring again 
And vibrate with the beat and melody 
Stirred by the warmth of old Ionian days." 

— Mrs. Browning. 

The Lady Margaret Foundations — bishop Fisher of Rochester — The Founda- 
tion of Christ's — God's House — The Buildings of the new College — 
College Worthies — John Milton — Henry More — Charles Darwin — The 
Hospital of the Brethren of S. John — Death of the Lady Margaret — 
Foundation of S. John's College — Its Buildings — The Great Gateway 
— The New Library — The Bridge of Sighs— The Wilderness — Words- 
worth's "Prelude" — The Aims of Bishop Fisher — His Death. 

WE may well in this chapter take together 
the twin foundations of Christ's College 
and S. John's, which both had the Lady 
Margaret, Countess of Richmond and Derby, 
and mother of Henry VII., for their foundress. The father 
of this lady was John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, and her 
mother was Margaret, daughter and heiress of Sir John Beau- 
champ, of Bletso. " So that," says Fuller, punning on her 
parents' names, "fairfort and /airfield met in this lady, who 
was fair body and fair soul, being the exactest pattern of 

the best devotion those days afforded, taxed for no personal 



faults but the errors of the age she lived in. John Fisher, 
Bishop of Rochester, preached her funeral sermon, wherein 
he resembled her to Martha in four respects : firstly, nobility 
of person ; secondly, discipline of her body ; thirdly, in order- 
ing her soul to God ; fourthly, in hospitality and charity." 

In that assemblage of noble lives, who from the earliest 
days of Cambridge history have laboured for the benefit of 
the University, and left it so rich a store of intellectual 
good, there are no more honoured names than these two : — 
the Lady Margaret, Countess of Richmond, and her friend 
and confessor, Bishop Fisher, under whose wise and cautious 
supervision Cambridge first tasted of the fruits of the Re- 
naissance, and welcomed Erasmus, I fear with but a very 
tempered enthusiasm, to the newly-founded Lady Margaret 
chair, and yet, nevertheless, in that encouragement of the 
New Learning laid the foundation of that sound method 
and apparatus of criticism which has enabled the University 
in an after age to take all knowledge for its province, and 
to represent its conquest by the foundation of twenty-five 
professorial chairs. 

John Fisher, who came, as we have seen in the last chapter, 
from the Abbey School at Beverley, where, some twenty years 
or so before, he had been preceded by Bishop Alcock, was 
Proctor of the University in 1494, and three years later, in 
1497, was ma de Master of his College, Michaelhouse. The 
duties of the proctorial office necessitated at that time occa- 
sional attendance at Court, and it was on the occasion of his 
appearance in this capacity at Greenwich that Fisher first 

attracted the notice of the Lady Margaret, who in 1497 



appointed him her confessor. It was an auspicious conjunc- 
tion for the University. Under his inspiration the generosity 
of his powerful patron was readily extended to enrich 
academic resources. It was the laudable design of Fisher 
to raise Cambridge to the academic level which Oxford had 
already reached. Already students of the sister university 
had been to Italy, and had returned full of the New Learning. 
The fame of Colet, Grocyn, and Linacre made Oxford re- 
nowned, and drew to its lecture-rooms eager scholars from 
all the learned world. It hardly needed that such a man 
as Erasmus should sing the praises of the Oxford teachers. 
" When I listen to my friend Colet," he wrote, " I seem 
to be listening to Plato himself. Who does not admire 
in Grocyn the perfection of training ? What can be more 
acute, more profound, or more refined than the judgment of 
Linacre ? What has nature ever fashioned gentler, sweeter, 
or pleasanter than the disposition of Thomas More ? " 1 

It was natural therefore that Fisher should be ambitious 
in the same direction for his own university. He began 
wisely on a small scale, with an object of immediate practical 
usefulness, the foundation of a Divinity professorship, which 
should aim at teaching pulpit eloquence. On this point 
he rightly thought that the adherents of the Old and the 
New Learning might agree. And there was desperate need 
for the adventure. For with the close of the fifteenth cen- 
tury both theology and the art of preaching had sunk into 
general neglect. Times, for example, had greatly changed 
since the day when Bishop Grosseteste had declared that if 

1 Erasmus, Roberto Piscatori, Epist. xiv. 


a priest could not preach, there was one remedy, let him 
resign his benefice. But now the sermon itself had ceased 
to be considered necessary. 

" Latimer tells us that in his own recollection, sermons might be 
omitted for twenty Sundays in succession without fear of complaint. 
Even the devout More, in that ingenious romance which he designed 
as a covert satire on many of the abuses of his age, while giving an 
admirably conceived description of a religious service, has left the 
sermon altogether unrecognised. In the universities, for one master 
of arts or doctor of divinity who could make a text of Scripture the 
basis of an earnest, simple, and effective homily, there were fifty who 
could discuss its moral, analogical, and figurative meaning, who could 
twist it into all kinds of unimagined significance, and give it a 
distorted, unnatural application. Rare as was the sermon, the theo- 
logian in the form of a modest, reverent expounder of Scripture was 
yet rarer. Bewildered audiences were called upon to admire the 
performances of intellectual acrobats. Skelton, who well knew the 
Cambridge of these days, not inaptly described its young scholars as 
men who when they had ' once superciliously caught 

A ly tell ragge of rhetoricke, 

A lesse lumpe of logicke, 

A pece or patch of philosophy, 

Then forthwith by and by 

They tumble so in theology, 

Drowned in dregges of divinite 

That they juge themselfe alle to be 

Doctours of the chayre in the Vintre, 

At the Three Cranes 

To magnifye their names.' " ' 

It was to remedy this state of things that, in the first 
instance, Fisher set himself to work. The Divinity professor- 

1 Mullinger, " History of the University of Cambridge," vol. i. p. 439. 

217 2 E 


ship was soon supplemented by the Lady Margaret preacher- 
ship, the holder of which was to go from place to place and 
give a cogent example in pulpit oratory : one sermon in the 
course of every two years at each of the following twelve 
places : — 

" On some Sunday at S. Paul's Cross, if able to obtain permission, 
otherwise at S. Margaret's, Westminster, or if unable to preach there, 
then in one of the more notable churches of the City of London ; and 
once on some feast day in each of the churches of Ware and Cheshunt 
in Hertfordshire ; Bassingbourne, Orwell and Babraham in Cambridge- 
shire ; Maney, St. James Deeping, Bourn, Boston, and Swineshead in 
Lincolnshire." 1 

We have already spoken in the chapter on Queen's College 
of the work of Erasmus at Cambridge. He was summoned 
to Cambridge in 1511 to teach Greek and to lecture on the 
foundation of Lady Margaret. He himself tells us that 
within a space of thirty years the studies of the University 
had progressed from the old grammar, logic, and scholastic 
questions to some knowledge of the New Learning, of the 
renewed study at any rate of Aristotle, and the study of 

The literary revival had no doubt been quicker and more 
brilliant at Oxford, but Cambridge, owing to Fisher's cautious 
and careful supervision, and his foundation of the Lady 
Margaret Colleges of Christ's and S. John's, was the first to 
give to the New Learning a permanent home. 

The religious bias of the Countess of Richmond had 

1 Cooper's " Annals," vol. i. p. 273. 



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inclined her to devote the bulk of her fortune to an extension 
of the great monastery of Westminster. But Bishop Fisher 
knew that active learning rather than lazy seclusion was 
essential to preserve the Church against the dangerous 
Italian type of the Renaissance, and he persuaded her to 
direct her gift to educational purposes. He pointed out that 
the Abbey Church was already the wealthiest in England, 
" that the schools of learning were meanly endowed, the 
provisions of scholars very few and small, and colleges yet 
wanting to their maintenance — that by such foundations she 
might have two ends and designs at once, might double her 
charity and double her reward, by affording as well supports 
to learning as encouragement to virtue." 

The foundation of Christ's College in 1505 is an enduring 
memorial of the wisdom of the Bishop and the charity of the 
Lady Margaret. 

There is a tradition that Fisher, who undoubtedly had 
joined Michaelhouse before taking his B.A. degree in 1487, 
had, upon his first entering Cambridge, been a student of 
God's House. However that may be, it was to this small 
foundation he turned as the basis of his projected new college. 

God's House, an adjunct of Clare Hall, founded by 

William Byngham, Rector of S. John Zachary, in London, 

in 1 44 1, stood originally on a plot of land at the west end 

of King's Chapel, adjoining the Church of S. John Zachary. 

In the changes which were necessary to secure a site for 

King's College, the Church of S. John and God's House 

were removed. In return for his surrender, Byngham had 



received license from Henry VI. to build elsewhere a college. 
Land was accordingly secured on what is now the site of the 
first and second courts of Christ's College, and in the charter 
of the new God's House, dated 16th April 1448, it is stated 
that Byngham had deferred the foundation owing to his 
ardent desire that " the King's glory and his reward in 
heaven might be increased " by his personal foundation of 
God's House. Henry could not resist such an argument, 
and thus God's House became, and Christ's College, as its 
successor, claims to be, of Royal Foundation. The little 
foundation, however, was always cramped by lack of means. 
Within fifty years of its first foundation the time had evi- 
dently come for a reconstitution of God's House. 

"In the year 1505 appeared the royal charter for the foundation 
of Christ's College, wherein after a recital of the facts already men- 
tioned, together with other details, it was notified that King Henry 
VII., at the representation of his mother and other noble and trust- 
worthy persons — -percarissinnz matris nostra necnon aliorum nobilium et 
fide dignorum — and having regard to her great desire to exalt and 
increase the Christian faith, her anxiety for her own spiritual wel- 
fare, and the sincere love which she had ever borne ' our uncle ' 
(Henry VI.) while he lived — had conceded to her permission to carry 
into full effect the designs of her illustrious relative ; that is to say, 
to enlarge and endow the aforesaid God's House sufficiently for the 
reception and support of any number of scholars not exceeding sixty, 
who should be instructed in grammar or in the other liberal sciences 
and faculties or in sacred theology." 1 

The arrival of the charter was soon followed by the 
news of the Lady Margaret's noble benefactions — consist- 

1 Mullinger, "History of the University," vol. i. p. 44. 


ing of many manors in the four counties of Cambridge, 
Norfolk, Leicester, and Essex — which thus exalted the 
humble and struggling Society of God's House, under its 
new designation of Christ's College, into the fourth place, 
in respect of revenue, among all the Cambridge colleges. 

The building of the College seems to have gone on 
uninterruptedly between 1505 and 151 1. The amount 
spent by the Foundress during her lifetime is not ascer- 
tainable ; but the cost, as given in the household books of 
the Lady Margaret after her death, was more than £1000. 

"Though the College," says the present Master, Dr. Peile, 
" had no very striking architectural features, the general effect, as 
seen in Loggan's view, is good. We see the old mullioned windows 
supplanted by sash windows in the last century : and the battlements 
inside the court as well as without, which were displaced by Essex to 
make way for the solid parapet, which still remains, and indeed suits 
the new windows better. The original windows have recently been 
restored with very good effect. We see a path called the Regent's 
Walk, running from the great gate directly across the court to a door 
which gave entrance to the great parlour in the Lodge, then the 
reception-room of the College, and now the Masters' dining-room. 
That room has been reduced in size by a passage made between it and 
the Hall. The passage leads to the winding stone staircase which 
gave the only access to this suite of three rooms on the first floor, 
corresponding exactly with those below, and reserved by the Foundress 
for her own use during life, while the Master contented himself with 
the three rooms on the ground floor. The Foundress's suite con- 
sisted of a large ante-room (commonly but wrongly called the 
Foundress's Bed-Chamber) with a little lobby in one corner at the 
entrance from the old staircase. The second room (now the drawing- 
room) was the Foundress's own living room ; it has an oriel window 



looking into the court, not much injured by the removal of the 

We may interrupt the Master's record here to tell the 
characteristic story of the Lady Margaret which most pro- 
bably has this oriel window for its scene : " Once the Lady 
Margaret came to Christ's College to behold it when partly 
built ; and looking out of a window, saw the Dean call a 
faulty scholar to correction, to whom she said, ' Lente ! 
Lente/' (Gently ! gently !) as accounting it better to 
mitigate bis punishment than to procure his pardon : mercy 
and justice making the best medley to offenders." 1 

" The Foundress's sitting-room has a very interesting stone 
chimney-piece adorned with fourteen badges (originally sixteen), 
including a rose (repeated twice), a portcullis — the Beaufort badge 
(repeated once), three ostrich feathers (a badge assumed by Edward 
III. in right of his wife), a crown, a fleur-de-lis (repeated once), the 
letters H.R., doubtless Henricus Rex (repeated once), and lastly 
(twice repeated though the form differs) the special badge of the 
Lady Margaret — groups of Marguerites, in one case represented as 
growing in a basket. This very beautiful work was brought to light 
in 1887 ; it had been covered up by the insertion of a modern fire- 
place, whereby two of the badges were destroyed. The whole had 
been coloured : there were traces of a deep blue pigment on the 
stone between the badges, and on the jambs was scroll-work in black 
and yellow. The remaining space between the drawing-room and the 
chapel contained at its eastern end a private oratory with its window 
opening into the chapel, closed up in 1702, but reopened in 1899 ; it 
was connected with the drawing-room by a door, which was revealed 

1 Fuller's "History of Cambridge," p. 182. 


when the walls of the oratory were stripped. At the western end 
was a small room looking into the court, probably the bedroom of the 
Foundress, connected by a door, now visible, with the oratory ; this 
room was swept away when the present staircase was introduced, 
probably in the seventeenth century ; 
further access had become necessary, be- 
cause at that time several of the masters 
let the best rooms of the Lodge, and 
lived themselves in what was called the 
Little Lodge, a building of considerable 
size to the north of the chapel, intended 
originally for offices to the Lodge." l 

* I 


The hall, between the Lodge 
and the buttery, has no exceptional 
features. Early in the eighteenth 
century it was entirely Italianised, 
as also were many of the other 
buildings. It was entirely rebuilt 
by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1876, the 
old roof, with its ancient chestnut principals, being re- 
constructed and replaced. The walls were raised six feet 
and an oriel window was built on the east side in addition 
to the original one on the west. In 1882 and following 
years portraits of the Founders, of benefactors, and of 
worthies of the College were placed in the twenty-one 
lights of the west oriel. The persons chosen as " glass- 
worthy " were William Bingham, Henry VI., John Fisher, 
Lady Margaret, Edward VI., Sir John Finch, Sir Thomas 

1 Dr. Peile's " History of Christ's College." p. 2<j. 

'■ ! 




Baines, John Leland, Edmund Grindall, Sir Walter Mild- 
may, John Still, William Perkins, William Lee, Sir John 
Harrington (this because of a mistaken claim on the part 
of Christ's, for Harrington was a King's man, and possibly 
also of Trinity at a later date), Francis Quarles, John Milton, 
John Cleveland, Henry More, Ralph Cudworth, William 
Paley, Charles Darwin. The glass-work was executed by 
Burlison & Grylls. 

At an early period " a very considerable part of y e schollars 
of Christ College lodged in y e Brazen George ; and y e gates 
there were shut and opened Morning and Evening constantly 
as y e College gates were." The Brazen George Inn stood 
on the other side of S. Andrew's Street, opposite to the 
south-east corner of the College. Alexandra Street no doubt 
represents the Inn yard. In 1 6 1 3 the accommodation in the 
College was further increased by the erection of a range of 
buildings in the Second Court. This was a timber building 
of two stories with attics. In 1665 it is described as "the 
little old building called Rat's Hall." It was pulled down 
in 1730 ; the large range of buildings known as the Fellows' 
buildings, parallel to Rat's Hall and further east, having 
been erected, according to tradition, by Inigo Jones about 
1640. A large range of building, similar in style to the 
Fellows' building, was erected in 1889, and in 1895-97 Messrs. 
Bodley & Garner enlarged the old library, and altered and 
refaced the street front, extending the building to Christ's 
Lane, and thus added much to the dignity of the College 

buildings, as seen from S. Andrew's Street. The " re- 




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beautifying the chappell," as the then Master, Dr. Covel, 
called it, took place in 1702-3, when it was panelled by 
John Austin, who did similar work, about the same time in 
King's College chapel. The chapel has no remarkable or 
beautiful features. It is unnecessary to contradict the verdict 
of the present Master : " It must have been much more 
beautiful during the first fifty years of the College than at 
any later time." 

In the list of twenty-one names which we give above as 
being " glass-worthy," we have also, no doubt, the list of the 
most eminent members of Christ's College. Of these the 
two greatest are undoubtedly John Milton and Charles 

Milton was admitted a pensioner of Christ's College on 

1 2th February 1624—25, and was matriculated on 9th April 

following. He resided at Cambridge in all some seven years, 

from February 1625 to July 1632. His rooms were on the left 

side of the great court as it is entered from the street, the first 

floor rooms on the first staircase on that side. They consist 

at present of a small study with two windows looking into the 

court, and a very small bedroom adjoining, and they have not 

probably been altered since his time. In the gardens behind 

the Fellows' buildings, perhaps the most delightful of all the 

college gardens in Cambridge, is the celebrated mulberry tree, 

which an unvarying tradition asserts to have been planted by 

Milton. "Unvarying," I have ventured to write, for I dare not 

repeat the heresy of which Mr. J. W. Clark was guilty when 

he suggested that Milton's mulberry tree was in reality one of 



three hundred which the College bought to please James I., 
and which was " set " by Troilus Atkinson, the College fac- 
totum, in the very year that Milton was born. Concerning 
such heresy I can only repeat the rebuke of the present 
Master : " The suggestion that the object of wider interest 
than anything else in Christ's — ' Milton's mulberry tree ' — is 
probably the last of that purchase, is the one crime among a 
thousand virtues of the present Registrary of the University." 
Milton took his B.A. degree 26th March 1629, the year in 
which he wrote that noble " Ode on the Nativity," in which 
the characteristic majesty of his style is already well marked. 
Three years earlier at least he had already written poems — 
the epitaph " On the Death of an Infant " — 

" O fairest flow'r no sooner blown than blasted, 
Soft, silken primrose fading timelessly, 
Summer's chief honour . . ." 

hardly less beautiful than the slightly later dirge " On the 
Marchioness of Winchester " : — 

" Here besides the sorrowing 
That thy noble house doth bring, 
Here be tears of perfect moan 
Wept for thee in Helicon," 

which in their exquisite grace and tenderness of wording 
scarcely fall below the mastery of the mightier measure and 
deeper thought of " Lycidas," written in 1637. Of his Latin 
poems, written also during his undergraduate years, Dr. Peile 
has said — and on such a point there could be no higher autho- 
rity : " Even then he thought in Latin : his exercises are ori- 
ginal poems, not mere clever imitations. There is remarkable 



power in them — power which could only be gained by one 
who had filled himself with the spirit of classical literature." 
After this testimony we can assuredly afford to smile at those 
rumours of some disgrace in his university career spread 
about in later years by his detractors. That he had met 
perhaps, according to Aubrey's account, with " some unkind- 
nesse " from his tutor Chapell, even though that phrase by an 
amended reading is interpreted " whipt him," need not distress 
us. It is a doubtful piece of gossip, and even if it were true 
— for flogging of students was by no means obsolete — it was 
a story to the tutor's disgrace, not to Milton's ; and certainly 
the poet himself bore no grudge against the College autho- 
rities, as these magnanimous words plainly testify : — 

"I acknowledge publicly with all grateful mind, that more than 
ordinary respect which I found, above any of my equals, at the hands 
of those courteous and learned men, the Fellows of that College, 
wherein I spent some years ; who, at my parting, after I had taken 
two degrees, as the manner is, signified many ways how much better 
it would content them that I would stay ; as by many letters full of 
kindness and loving respect, both before that time and long after, I 
was assured of their singular good affection towards me." : 

Between the matriculation of John Milton at Christ's 
and that of Charles Darwin at the same college is a period 
exactly of two centuries. The Christ's Roll of Honour for 
that period contains many worthy names, but none certainly 
which shed a brighter lustre on the College history than that 
of Henry More, a leader in that remarkable school or thinkers 
in the seventeenth century — Benjamin Whichcote, Ralph 

1 Cf. Milton's "Apology for Smectymnus," 1642. 


Cudworth, John Smith, John Worthington, Samuel Cradock 
— known as " the Cambridge Platonists," for whom Burnet 
claims the high credit of " having saved the Church from 
losing the esteem of the kingdom," and whose distinctive 
teaching is perhaps best brought out in More's writings. 
Henry More had been admitted to Christ's College about the 
time when John Milton was leaving it. He was elected a 
Fellow of the College in 1639, and thenceforth lived almost 
entirely within its walls. Like many others, he began as 
a poet and ended as a prose writer. He had, in fact, the 
Platonic temperament in far greater measure probably than 
any other of the Cambridge school. How the soul should 
escape from its animal prison — when it should get the wings 
that of right should belong to it — into what regions those 
wings could carry it — were the questions which occupied him 
from youth upwards. " I would sing," he had said in one of 
his Platonical poems, 

" The pre-existency 
Of human souls, and live once more again, 
By recollection and quick memory, 
All what is past since first we all began." 

But the neo-platonic extravagances which lay hidden in 

his writings from the first grew at last into a new species of 

fanaticism, which makes his later books quite unreadable. 

And yet he remains perhaps the most typical, certainly 

the most interesting, of all the Cambridge Platonists, and at 

least he held true to the two great springs of the movement — 

an unshrinking appeal to Reason, coupled with profound 

faith in the essential harmony of natural and spiritual Truth — 



doctrines which are of the very pith of the seventeenth 
century Cambridge evangel, and which one is glad to think, 
remain of the very essence of the Cambridge theology of 
to-day. That Henry More and the Cambridge Platonists 
failed in much that they attempted cannot be denied. They 
failed partly because of their own weakness, but partly also 
because the time was not yet ripe for an adequate spiritual 
philosophy. Such a philosophy of religion can indeed only 
rise gradually on a comprehensive basis of historic criticism, 
and of a criticism which has realised not only that religious 
thought can no more transcend history than science can 
transcend nature, but has also learned the lesson — which no 
man has more clearly taught to the students of history and of 
science alike, in the century which has just closed, than that 
latest and greatest of the sons of Christ's College, Charles 
Darwin — that knowledge is to be found not only in sudden 
illumination, but in the slow processes of evolution, and pro- 
gress not in pet theories of this or that ancient or modern 
thinker, but only in patient study and faithful generalisation. 

Let us turn now to the second and perhaps greater Lady 
Margaret Foundation of S. John's College. 

Three years after Henry VI. 's incompleted foundation 
of God's House had been enriched by a fair portion of the 
Lady Margaret's lands and opened as Christ's College, the 
Oxford friends of the Countess petitioned her for help in 
the endowment of a college in that University. For a time 
it seemed as if Christ's Church was to have the Lady Mar- 
garet and not Cardinal Wolsey as its founder. But Bishop 



Fisher again successfully pleaded the cause of his own Uni- 
versity, and the royal licence to refound the corrupt monastic 
Hospital of S. John as a great and wealthy college was 
obtained in 1508. 

Of the Hospital of the Brethren of S. John the Evangelist, 
which was founded in the year 1 135, we have already spoken 
in the chapter on Peterhouse. It owed its origin to an 
opulent Cambridge burgess, Henry Frost, and was placed 
under the direction of a small community of Augustinian 
Canons, an Order whose rule very closely resembled that of 
a monastery, their duties consisting mainly in the performance 
of religious services, and in caring for the poor and infirm. 
The patronage which the little community received would 
seem to show that, during its earlier history at least, the 
Brethren of S. John had faithfully discharged their duties. 
Several of the early Bishops of Ely took the Hospital under 
their direct patronage. Bishop Eustace, a prelate who played 
a foremost part in Stephen's reign, appropriated to it the 
livings of Homingsea and of S. Peter's Church in Cambridge, 
now known as Little S. Mary's. Bishop Hugh de Balsham,as 
we have seen in our account of his foundation of Peterhouse, 
endeavoured to utilise the Hospital for the accommodation 
of the many students who in his time were flocking to the 
University in quest of knowledge, and to that end endowed 
the Hospital with additional revenues. After the failure 
of that scheme and the successful foundation of Peterhouse, 
Bishop Simon Montagu came to the help of the little 

house, and decreed, that in compensation for the loss of 



S. Peter's Church, the Master and Fellows of Peterhouse 
should pay to the Brethren of S. John a sum of twenty shil- 
lings annually, a payment which has regularly been made 
down to the present day. The Hospital continued to grow 
in wealth and importance down to the time of its " decay 
and fall " in Henry VII. 's reign. The last twelve years of the 
fifteenth century, under the misrule of its then Master, William 
Tomlyn, saw its estates mortgaged or let on long leases, its 
discipline lax and scandalous, its furniture, and even sacred 
vessels, sold. At the beginning of the sixteenth century it 
had fallen into poverty and decay, and the number of its 
brethren had dwindled to two. Its condition is described 
in words identical with those applied to the Priory of S. 
Rhadegund. 1 The words, as given in the charter of S. John's 
College, are these : — 

" The House or Priory of the Brethren of S. John the Evangelist, 
its lands, tenements, rents, possessions, buildings, as well as its effects, 
furniture, jewels and other ornaments in the Church, conferred upon 
the said house or priory in former times, have now been so grievously 
dilapidated, destroyed, wasted, alienated, diminished and made away 
with, by the carelessness, prodigality, improvidence and dissolute 
conduct of the Prior, Master and brethren of the aforesaid House 
or Priory; and the brethren themselves have been reduced to such 
want and poverty that they are unable to perform Divine Service, or 
their accustomed duties whether of religion, mercy or hospitality, 
according to the original ordinance of their founders, or even to 
maintain themselves by reason of their poverty and want of means of 

1 It might almost be supposed that the officials who drew royal charters kept a 
•• model form" to meet the case of a suppressed religious house, altering the name and 
place to fit the occasion. 

233 2 G 


support ; inasmuch as for a long while two brethren only have been 
maintained in the aforesaid House, and these are in the habit of stray- 
ing abroad in all directions beyond the precincts of the said religious 
House, to the grave displeasure of Almighty God, the discredit of 
their order, and the scandal of their Church." 

The legal formalities necessary for the suppression of the 
Hospital were so tedious, that it was not " utterly extin- 
guished," as Baker, the historian of S. John's, called its disso- 
lution, until January 1510, when it fell, "a lasting monument 
to all future ages and to all charitable and religious founda- 
tions not to neglect the rules or abuse the institutions of their 
founders, lest they fall under the same fate." Meanwhile, 
before these difficulties could be entirely overcome, King 
Henry VII. died, and within little more than two months 
after, the Lady Margaret herself was laid to rest by the side 
of her royal son in Westminster Abbey. Erasmus composed 
her epitaph. Skelton sang her elegy. Torregiano, the Flor- 
entine sculptor, immortalised her features in that monu- 
mental effigy which Dean Stanley has characterised as " the 
most beautiful and venerable figure that the abbey contains." 
Bishop Fisher, who two months before had preached the 
funeral sermon for her son Henry VII., preached again, and 
with a far deeper earnestness, on the loss which, to him at 
least, could never be replaced. 

"Every one that knew her," he said, " loved her, and everything 
that she said or did became her ... of marvellous gentleness 
she was unto all folks, but especially unto her own, whom she trusted 
and loved right tenderly. . . . All England for her death hath 



cause of weeping. The poor creatures who were wont to receive her 
alms, to whom she was always piteous and merciful ; the students of 


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both the universities, to whom she was as a mother ; all the learned 
men of England, to whom she was a very patroness; all the virtuous 
and devout persons, to whom she was as a loving sister ; all the good 



religious men and women whom she so often was wont to visit 
and comfort ; all good priests and clerks, to whom she was a true 
defendress ; all the noblemen and women, to whom she was a mirror 
and example of honour ; all the common people of this realm, to 
whom she was in their causes a woman mediatrix and took right 
great displeasure for them ; and generally the whole realm, hath cause 
to complain and to mourn her death." 

The executors of the Lady Margaret were Richard Fox, 
Bishop of Winchester ; John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester ; 
Charles Somerset ; Lord Herbert, afterwards Earl of Wor- 
cester ; Sir Thomas Lovell, Knight ; Sir Henry Marney, 
Knight, afterwards Lord Marnev ; Sir John St. John, Knight ; 
Henry Hornby, clerk ; and Hugh Ashton, clerk. Unfore- 
seen difficulties, however, soon arose. The young king looked 
coldly on a project which involved a substantial diminution 
of the inheritance which he had anticipated from his grand- 
mother, while the young Bishop of Ely — " the Dunce Bishop 
of Ely " — James Stanley, 1 although stepson to the Countess, 
and solely indebted to her for promotion to his see, a dignity 
which he little merited, did his best after her death to avert 
the dissolution of the Hospital. As a result of this opposition 
of the Court party, to which no less a person than Cardinal 
Wolsey, out of jealousy it would seem for his own university, 
lent his powerful support, Lady Margaret's executors found 
themselves compelled to forego their claims, and the munificent 

1 Caxton, as he worked at his printing press in the Almonry, which she had founded, 
and who was under her special protection, said "the worst thing she ever did " was trying 
to draw Erasmus from his Greek studies at Cambridge to train her untoward stepson, 
James Stanley, to be Bishop of Ely. 


FT -^".T^r.v, 


bequest intended by the foundress was lost to the College for 
ever. As some compensation for the loss sustained the un- 
tiring exertions of Bishop Fisher succeeded in obtaining for 
the College the revenues of another God's House, a decayed 
society at Ospringe, in Kent, and certain other small estates, 
producing altogether an income of £8°- " This," says 
Baker, " with the lands of the old house, together with the 
foundress's estate at Fordham, which was charged with debts 
by her will, and came so charged to the College, with some 
other little things purchased with her moneys at Steukley, 
Bradley, Isleham, and Foxton (the two last alienated or lost), 
was the original foundation upon which the College was first 
opened ; and whoever dreams of vast revenues or larger en- 
dowments will be mightily mistaken." 

Such were the conditions under which the new society 
of the College of S. John the Evangelist was at last formed 
in 151 1, and Robert Shorton appointed Master with thirty- 
one Fellows. During Shorton's brief tenure of the Master- 
ship (1511-16) it devolved upon him to watch the progress 
of the new building, which now rose on the site of the 
Hospital, and included a certain portion of the ancient 

"Some three centuries and a half later, in 1869, when the old 
chapel gave place to the present splendid erection, the process of 
demolition laid bare to view some interesting features in the ancient 
pre-collegiate buildings. Members of the College, prior to the year 
1863, can still remember 'The Labyrinth' — the name given to a 
series of students' rooms approached by a tortuous passage which 

2 37 


wound its way from the first court, north of the gateway opening upon 
Saint John's Street. These rooms were now ascertained to have been 
formed out of the ancient infirmary — a fine single room, some 78 feet 
in length and 22 in breadth, which during the mastership of William 
Whitaker (1586-95) had been converted into three floors of students' 
chambers. Removal of the plaster which covered the south wall of 
the original building further brought to light a series of Early English 
lancet windows, erected probably with the rest of the structure, some- 
time between the years 11 80 and 1200. Between the first and second 
of these windows stood a very beautiful double piscina which Sir 
Gilbert Scott repaired and transferred to the New Chapel. The 
chapel of the Hospital had been altered to suit the needs of the 
College, and in Babington's opinion was very much ' changed for the 
worse.' The Early English windows gave place to smaller perpendi- 
cular windows, inserted in the original openings, while the pitch of 
the roof was considerably lowered. The contract is still extant made 
between Shorton and the glazier, covenanting for the insertion of 
'good and noble Normandy glasse,' in certain specified portions of 
which were to appear ' roses and portcullis,' the arms of ' the 
excellent pryncesse Margaret, late Countesse of Rychemond and 
Derby,' while the colouring and designs were to be the same ' as be 
in the glasse wyndowes within the collegge called Christes Collegge in 
Cambrigge or better in euery poynte.' " J 

The buildings of S. John's College consist of four quad- 
rangles disposed in succession from east to west, and ex- 
tending to a length of some 300 yards. The westernmost 
court is across the river, approached by the well-known 
"Bridge of Sighs," built in 1831. The easternmost court, 
facing on the High Street, is the primitive quadrangle, and 
for nearly a century after the foundation comprised the whole 

1 Mullinger's "History of S. John's College," p. 17. 


college. The plan closely follows what we have now come 
to regard as the normal arrangement, and is almost identical 
with that of Queens'. 

The Great Gateway, which is in the centre of the eastern 
range of buildings, is by far the most striking and beautiful 
gate in all Cambridge. It is of red brick, with stone quoins. 
The sculpture in the space over the arch commemorates the 
founders, the Lady Margaret and her son King Henry VII. 
In the centre is a shield bearing the arms of England and 
France quarterly, supported by the Beaufort antelopes. 
Above it is a crown beneath a rose. To the right and left 
are the portcullis and rose of the Tudors, both crowned. 
The whole ground is sprinkled with daisies, the peculiar 
emblem of the foundress. They appear in the crown above 
the portcullis. They cluster beneath the string - course. 
Mixed with other flowers they form a groundwork to the 
heraldic devices. Above all, in a niche, is the statue of 
S. John. The present figure was set up in 1662. The ori 
ginal figure was removed during the Civil War. There is 
evidence that at one time the arms were emblazoned in gold 
and colours, and that the horns of the antelopes were gilt. 

Over the gateway is the treasury. The first floor of the 
range of buildings to the south of the treasury contained at 
first the library. The position of this old library is the only 
feature in the arrangement of the buildings in which S. John's 
differs from Queens'. 

The second court, a spacious quadrangle, considerably 
larger than the first, was commenced in 1598, and finished in 

24I 2 H 


1602, the greater part of the cost being defrayed by the 
Countess of Salisbury. In the west range there is a large 
gateway tower. The first floor of the north range contains 
the master's long gallery — a beautiful room with panelled 
walls and a rich plaster ceiling. In this fine chamber for 
successive centuries the head of the College was accustomed 
to entertain his guests, among whom royalty was on several 
occasions included. According to the historian Carter, down 
even to the middle of the last century it still remained the 
longest room in the University, and when the door of the 
library was thrown open, the entire vista presented what he 
describes as a "most charming view." It was originally 
148 feet long, but owing to various rearrangements its dimen- 
sions have been reduced to 93 feet. It is now used as a 
Combination Room by the Fellows. 

The new library building, which forms the north side 
of the third court, was built in 1624. It is reached by a 
staircase built in the north-west corner of the second court. 
The windows of the library are pointed and filled with fairly 
good geometrical tracery, while the level of the floor and the 
top of the wall are marked by classical entablatures. The 
wall is finished by a good parapet, which originally had on 
each battlement three little pinnacles like those still remaining 
on the parapet of the oriel window in the west gable. This 
gable stands above the river, and forms with the adjoining 
buildings a most picturesque group. The name of Bishop 
Williams of Lincoln, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, who 

had contributed as " an unknown person " two-thirds of the 


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entire cost of £3000, is commemorated by the letters I.L.C.S. 
[i.e. Johannes Uncolniensts Custos Sigilli), together with the 
date 1624, which appear conspicuously over the central gable. 
His arms, richly emblazoned, were suspended over the library 
door, and his portrait, painted by Gilbert Jackson, adorns the 
wall. The original library bookcases remain, though their 
forms have been considerably altered. 

The west range of the second court and the new library 
formed two sides of the third court. The remaining river 
range and the buildings on the south adjoining the back lane 
were added about fifty years later. They were probably de- 
signed by Nicholas Hawkes, then a pupil of Sir Christopher 
Wren. The central composition of the western range was 
designed as an approach to a footbridge leading to the College 
walks across the river. This footbridge gave way to the 
covered new bridge, commonly spoken of as the Bridge of 
Sighs from its superficial resemblance to the so-called structure 
at Venice, leading to the fourth court, which was completed 
in 1 83 1 from the plans of Rickman and Hutchinson. The 
old bridge, leading from the back lane, was built in 1696. 
Beyond the new court are the extensive gardens, on the 
western side of which is " the wilderness," commemorated 
by Wordsworth, who was an undergraduate of John's from 
1787 to 1 79 1, in the well-known lines of his Prelude : — 

" All winter long whenever free to choose, 
Did I by night frequent the College grove 
And tributary walks ; the last and oft 
The only one who had been lingering there 


Through hours of silence, till the porter's bell, 
A punctual follower on the stroke of nine, 
Rang with its blunt unceremonious voice 
Inexorable summons. Lofty elms, 
Inviting shades of opportune recess, 
Bestowed composure on a neighbourhood 
Unpeaceful in itself. A single tree 
With sinuous trunk, boughs exquisitely wreathed, 
Grew there ; an ash, which Winter for himself 
Decked out with pride, and with outlandish grace ; 
Up from the ground and almost to the top 
The trunk and every mother-branch were green 
With clustering ivy, and the lightsome twigs 
The outer spray profusely tipped with seeds 
That hung in yellow tassels, while the air 
Stirred them, not voiceless. Often have I stood 
Foot-bound, uplooking at this lovely tree 
Beneath a frosty moon. The hemisphere 
Of magic fiction verse of mine perchance 
May never tread ; but scarcely Spenser's self 
Could have more tranquil visions in his youth, 
Or could more bright appearances create 
Of human forms with superhuman powers 
Than I beheld, loitering on calm clear nights 
Alone, beneath the fairy-work of Earth." 

The new chapel of S. John's, designed by Sir Gilbert 

Scott in a style of pointed architecture, repeating, with 

some added degree of richness, the same architect's design 

of Exeter College chapel at Oxford, was begun in 1863 

and finished in 1869. The scheme involved the destruction 

of the old chapel and the still earlier building to the north 

of it. The hall was enlarged by adding to it the space 

formerly occupied by the Master's lodge, a new lodge 

being built to the north of the third court, and the Master's 


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gallery being converted into the Fellows' combination 
room. The stalls from the old chapel were refixed in the 
new building, and some new stalls were added. The beauti- 
ful Early English piscina, three arches and some monuments 
were also removed from the old chapel. 

Considerations of space compel me to bring this chapter 
to a conclusion. I have spoken of the two Lady Margaret 
foundations as colleges of the New Learning. How far 
they have succeeded in fulfilling the aims of their founder 
only a careful study of their subsequent history can tell, 
and for that we have not space. But this, at least, we may 
say, that a college in which, generation after generation, there 
were enrolled men of such varying parts and powers as Sir 
Thomas Wyatt and William Grindall ; as Sir John Cheke 
and Roger Ascham, the former the tutor of Edward VI., 
the latter of Queen Elizabeth, and both famous as among 
the most sagacious and original thinkers on the subject of 
education ; as Robert Greene and Thomas Nash, the 
dramatists ; as Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, and Thomas 
Cartwright, " the most learned of that sect of dissenters 
called Puritans " ; of John Dee, mathematician and astro- 
loger, the editor of Euclid's " Elements," and William Lee, 
the inventor of the stocking-frame ; of Roger Dods- 
worth, the antiquary, and Thomas Sutton, the founder of 
Charterhouse ; as Thomas Baker, the historian of the 
College, and Richard Bentley, the great scholar and critic ; 

as Henry Constable, and Robert Herrick and Mark Akenside 



and Robert Otway and Henry Kirke White and William 
Wordsworth - — a galaxy of names which seems to prove 
that not Cambridge only, but S. John's College, is " the 
mother of poets " — as William Wilberforce and Thomas 
Clarkson, can hardly be said not to have contributed 
much to the history of English culture and English 
learning, to the extension of the older Classical studies, 
and to the advance of the newer Science, to that wider 
and freer outlook upon the world and upon life to which 
so much that is best in our modern civilisation may be 
traced, and all of which took its origin from that move- 
ment of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries which we know 
by the name of the Renaissance. Of the genuine attach- 
ment of Bishop Fisher, the true founder of S. John's, to the 
New Learning there can be no doubt. He showed it clearly 
enough by the sympathy which he evinced with the new 
spirit of Biblical Criticism, and by the friendship with 
Erasmus, which induced that great scholar to accept the 
Lady Margaret professorship at Cambridge. That the study 
of Greek was allowed to go on in the University without 
that active antagonism which it encountered at Oxford was 
mainly owing — it is the testimony of Erasmus himself — to 
the powerful protection which it received from Bishop 
Fisher. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that his 
attachment to the papal cause, and his hostility to Luther, 
whom he rightly enough regarded as a Reformer of a very 
different type to that of his friends Erasmus, Colet, and 

More, remained unshaken. On the occasion of the burning 



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of Luther's writings in S. Paul's Churchyard in 1521, he 
had preached against the great reformer at Paul's Cross 
before Wolsey and Warham, a sermon which was subse- 
quently handled with severity by William Tyndale. It is, 
in fact, not difficult to recognise in the various codes of 
statutes, which from time to time he gave to his college 
foundations, evidence of both the strength and weakness of 
his character. In 15 16 he had given to S. John's statutes 
which were identical with those of Christ's College. But 
in 1524 he substituted for these another code, and in 1530 
a third. In this final code, accordingly, among many pro- 
visions, characterised by much prudent forethought, and 
amid statutes which really point to something like a re- 
volution in academic study, we see plainly enough signs 
of timorous distrust, not to say a pusillanimous anxiety 
against all innovations whatever in the future. But in 
one cause, at any rate, he bore a noble part, and for it 
he died a noble death. His opposition to the divorce of 
King Henry and Queen Catharine was not less honourable 
than it was consistent, and he stood alone among the 
Bishops of the realm in his refusal to recognise the validity 
of the measure. It was, in fact, his unflinching firm- 
ness in regard to the Act of Supremacy which finally 
sealed his fate. The story of his trial and death are 
matters that belong to English history. The pathos of 
it we can all feel as we read the pages in which Froude 
has told the story in his " History," and its moral, we may 
perhaps also feel, has not been unfitly pointed by Mr. 

249 2 1 


Mullinger in his " History of the University." Here are 
Froude's words : — 

" Mercy was not to be hoped for. It does not seem to have 
been sought. He was past eighty. The earth on the edge of the 
grave was already crumbling under his feet ; and death had little 
to make it fearful. When the last morning dawned, he dressed 
himself carefully — as he said, for his marriage day. The distance to 
Tower Hill was short. He was able to walk ; and he tottered out 
of the prison gates, holding in his hand a closed volume of the 
New Testament. The crowd flocked about him, and he was heard 
to pray that, as this book had been his best comfort and companion, 
so in that hour it might give him some special strength, and speak 
to him as from his Lord. Then opening it at a venture, he read : 
'This is life eternal, to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ, whom Thou hast sent.' It was the answer to his prayer ; 
and' he continued to repeat the words as he was led forward. On 
the scaffold he chanted the Te Deum, and then, after a few prayers, 
knelt down, and meekly laid his head upon a pillow where neither 
care nor fear nor sickness would ever vex it more. Many a 
spectacle of sorrow had been witnessed on that tragic spot, but never 
one more sad than this ; never one more painful to think or speak 
of. When a nation is in the throes of revolution, wild spirits are 
abroad in the storm : and poor human nature presses blindly forward 
with the burden which is laid upon it, tossing aside the obstacles in 
its path with a recklessness which, in calmer hours, it would fear 
to contemplate." J 

And here are Mr. Mullinger's : — 

" When it was known at Cambridge that the Chancellor (Fisher) 
was under arrest, it seemed as though a dark cloud had gathered 

1 Froude"s " History of England," vol. ii. p. 266. 


over the University ; and at those colleges which had been his 
peculiar care the sorrow was deeper than could find vent in language. 
The men who, ever since their academic life began, had been con- 
scious of his watchful oversight and protection, who as they had 
grown up to manhood had been honoured by his friendship, aided 
by his bounty, stimulated by his example to all that was commend- 
able and of good report, could not see his approaching fate without 
bitter and deep emotion ; and rarely in the correspondence of 
colleges is there to be found such an expression of pathetic grief as 
the letter in which the Society of S. John's addressed their beloved 
patron in his hour of trial. In the hall of that ancient foundation 
his portrait still looks down upon those who, generation after 
generation, enter to reap where he sowed. Delineated with all the 
severe fidelity of the art of that period, we may discern the asceticism 
of the ecclesiastic blending with the natural kindliness of the man, 
the wide sympathies with the stern convictions. Within those walls 
have since been wont to assemble not a few who have risen to 
eminence and renown. But the College of St. John the Evangelist 
can point to none in the long array to whom her debt of gratitude is 
greater, who have laboured more untiredly or more disinterestedly 
in the cause of learning, or who by a holy life and heroic death are 
more worthy to survive in the memories of her sons." ! 

1 Mullinger'6 "History of the University," vol. i. p. 628. 




"Qua ponti vicina vides, Audelius olim 
Coepit et adversi posuit fundamina muri : 
Et coeptum perfecit opus StaffbrJius heros 
Quern genuit maribus regio celeberrima damis. 

Quattuor inde novis quae turribus aha minantur 
Et nivea immenso diffundunt atria circo, 
Ordine postremus, sed non virtutibus, auxit 
Henricus tecta, et triplices cum jungeret sedes, 
Imposuit nomen facto." 

— Giles Fletcher, 1633. 

Dissolution of the Monasteries — Schemes for Collegiate Spoliation checked by 
Henry VIII. — Monks' or Buckingham College — Refounded by Sir Thomas 
Audley as Magdalene College — Conversion of the Old Buildings — The 
Pepysian Library — Foundation of Trinity College — Michaelhouse and the 
King's Hall — King Edward's Gate — The Queen's Gate — The Great Gate 
— Dr. Thomas Neville — The Great Court — The Hall — Neville's Court — 
New Court — Dr. Bentley — "A House of all Kinds of Good Letters." 

THE dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. 
and the confiscation of their great estates naturally 
created a sense of foreboding in the universities 
that it would not be long before the College 
estates shared the same fate. There were not wanting, we 
may be sure, greedy courtiers prepared with schemes of 
collegiate spoliation. If we may trust, however, the testi- 
mony of Harrison in his "Description of England," 1 the 

1 Edition of Furnival. p. 88. 


hopes of the despoiler were effectually checked by the King 
himself. " Ah, sirha," he is reported to have said to some 
who had ventured to make proposals for such despoilment, 
" I perceive the abbey lands have fleshed you, and set your 
teeth on edge to ask also those colleges. And whereas 
we had a regard only to pull down sin by defacing the 
monasteries, you have a desire also to overthrow all good- 
ness by a dispersion of colleges. I tell you, sirs, that I judge 
no land in England better bestowed than that which is given 
to our universities ; for by their maintenance our realm shall 
be well governed when we be dead and rotten." These are 
brave words, and we may hope that they were sincere. They 
may seem, perhaps, to receive some confirmation of sincerity 
from the fact that that munificent donor of other people's 
property did himself erect upon the ruins of more than one 
earlier foundation that great college, whose predominance in 
the University has from that time onwards been so marked a 
feature of Cambridge life. It is the opinion of Huber, 1 that 
the uncertainty and depression caused in the universities by 
these fears of confiscation did not subside until well on in the 
reign of Elizabeth. 

In the year 1542, however, four years before the founda- 
tion of Trinity College by Henry VIII., the spoliation of the 
monasteries was turned to the advantage of the University 
in a somewhat remarkable manner. On the further side of 
the River Cam, " cut off," as Fuller describes it, " from the 

1 " English Universities,'" vol. i. p. 307. 

2 53 


continent of Cambridge," there stood an ancient religious 
house known at this time as Buckingham College. 

" Formerly it was a place where many monks lived, on the charge 
of their respective convent, being very fit for solitary persons by the 
situation thereof. For it stood on the transcantine side, an anchoret 
in itself, severed by the river from the rest of the University. Here 
the monks some seven years since had once and again lodged and 
feasted Edward Stafford, the last Duke of Buckingham of that family. 
Great men best may, good men always will, be grateful guests to such 
as entertain them. Both qualifications met in this Duke and then no 
wonder if he largely requited his welcome. He changed the name 
of the House into Buckingham College, began to build, and purposed 
to endow the same, no doubt in some proportion to his own high and 
rich estate." i 

The foundation of this Monks' College had dated as far 
back as the year 1428, when the Benedictinesof Croylanderected 
a building for the accommodation of those monks belonging 
to their house who wished to repair to Cambridge, " to study 
the Canon Law and the Holy Scriptures," and yet to reside 
under their own monastic rule. From time to time other 
Benedictines of the neighbourhood — Ely, Ramsey, Walden — 
added additional chambers to the hostel — Croyland Abbey, 
however, remaining the superior house. 

A hall was built in connection with the College in 1 5 19 
by Edward, Duke of Buckingham, son of the former bene- 
factor, and it is probably to this date that we may refer the 
secular or semi-secular foundation of the College. Certainly 

1 Fuller, " History of Cambridge," p. 196. 

2 54 


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at this period the secular element of the College must have 
been considerable, for we find Cranmer, on his resignation of 
his Fellowship at Jesus on account of his marriage, supporting 
himself by giving lectures at Buckingham College. Sir 
Robert Rede, the founder of the Rede Lectureship in the 
University, and Thomas Audley, the future Lord Chancellor, 
are also said to have received their education in this College. 
At any rate there can be little doubt that it was this semi- 
secular character of the College at this period which saved it 
from the operations of the successive acts for the dissolution of 
the monastic bodies. In the year 1542 Buckingham College 
was converted by Sir Thomas Audley into Magdalene College. 
" Thomas, Lord Audley of Walden," says Fuller, " Chancellor 
of England, by licence obtained from King Henry VIII. , 
changed Buckingham into Magdalene (vulgarly Maudlin) 
College, because, as some 1 will have it, his surname is therein 
contained betwixt the initial and final letters thereof — 
M ' audley ' n. This may well be indulged to his fancy, whilst 
more solid considerations moved him to the work itself." 
What those " more solid considerations " may have been it is 
difficult, in relation to such a founder, to divine. He was 
a man who had gradually amassed considerable wealth by 
a singular combination of talent, audacity, and craft, one 
who, in the language of Lloyd in his " State Worthies," was 
" well seen in the flexures and windings of affairs at the depths 
whereof other heads not so steady turned giddy." He was 

1 This absurdity is traceable to that Skeletos Cantabr'igiensis by Richard Parker, 
to which I drew attention in my first chapter. 

2 55 


Speaker of the House of Commons in that Parliament by 
whose aid Henry VIII. had finally separated himself and his 
kingdom from all allegiance to the See of Rome, and of 
whose further measures for ecclesiastical reform at home 
Bishop Fisher had exclaimed in the House of Lords : " My 
lords, you see daily what bills come hither from the Com- 
mon House, and all is to the destruction of the Church. 
For God's sake, see what a realm the kingdom of Bohemia 
was, and when the Church went down, then fell the glory of 
the kingdom. Now with the Commons is nothing but 
' Down with the Church ! ' and all this meseemeth is for lack 
of faith only." Sir Thomas Audley had been one of the first 
to profit by the plunder of the monasteries. " He had had," 
as Fuller terms it, " the first cut in the feast of abbey lands." 
He was also one of those who shared in its final distribution. 
As a reward for his services as Lord Chancellor — and 
what those services must have been as " the keeper of the 
conscience" of such a king as Henry VIII. we need not 
trouble to inquire — a few more of the suppressed monasteries 
were granted to him at the general dissolution, among which, 
at his own earnest suit, was the Abbey of Walden in Essex. 
Walden was one of the Benedictine houses that had been 
associated in the early days with Monks', now Buckingham 
College. Whether the newly-created Lord of Walden 
regarded himself as inheriting also the Monks' rights and 
responsibilities in connection with the Cambridge college 
or not, or whether, being an old man now and infirm and 

with no male heir, he thought to find some solace for his 



conscience in the thought of himself as the benefactor and 
founder of a permanent college, I cannot say. Certain, how- 
ever, it is that the original statutes of Magdalene College, 
unlike those of Christ's and John's, exhibit no regard for the 
New Learning, and are indeed mainly noteworthy for the 
large powers and discretion which they assign to the Master, 
and the almost entire freedom of that official from any respon- 
sibility to the governing body of Fellows. It was evidently 
the founder's design to place the College practically under the 
control of the successive owners of Audley End. 

In 1564 the young Duke of Norfolk, who had married 
Lord Audley's daughter and sole heir, and who was, more- 
over, descended from the early benefactor of the College, the 
Duke of Buckingham, contributed liberally towards both the 
revenues of Magdalene and its buildings. On the occasion 
of Queen Elizabeth's visit to Cambridge, it is recorded that 
" the Duke of Norfolk accompanied Her Majesty out of the 
town, and, then returning, entered Magdalene College, and 
gave much money to the same ; promising £40 by year till 
they had builded the quadrant of the College." x From this 
statement it is plain that the quadrangle of Magdalene was 
not complete so late as 1654. The chapel and old library 
which form the west side of this court, and also the frontage 
to the street, had been built in the fifteenth century. The 
roof of the present chapel, uncovered in 1847, shows that 
Buckingham College had a chapel on the same site. The 
doorway in the north-west corner of the court retained a 

1 Nichol's "Progress of Queen Elizabeth," v. i. p. 182. 

257 2 K 


carving of the three keys, the arms of the prior and con- 
vent of Ely, so late as 1777, and thus probably indicated 
the chambers which were added to Monks' College for the 
accommodation of the Ely Convent scholars. The similar 
rooms assigned to the scholar-monks of Walden and Ramsey 
appear to have been in the range of buildings forming the 
south side of the College, parallel with the river, originally 
built in the fifteenth century, but reconstructed in 1585. 
The new gateway in the street-front belongs also to this late 
date. The chapel was thoroughly "Italianised" in 1733, 
and again restored and enlarged in 1851. 

The extremely beautiful building now known as the 
Pepysian Library, beyond the old quadrangle to the east, 
which belongs to Restoration times, although its exact date 
and the name of its architect are not known, is the chief 
glory of Magdalene. It was probably approaching comple- 
tion in 1703, when Samuel Pepys, the diarist, who had been 
a sizar of the College in 1650, and had lately contributed 
towards the cost of the building, bequeathed his library to 
the College, and directed that it should be housed in the 
new building. There, accordingly, it is now deposited, and 
the inscription, " Bibliotheca Pepysiana, 1724," with his 
arms and motto, " Mens ctijasque is est quisque" is carved in 
the pediment of the central window. The collection of books 
is a specially interesting one, invaluable to the historian or 
antiquary. Most of the books are in the bindings of the 
time, and are still in the mahogany glazed bookcases in 

which they were placed by Pepys himself in 1666, and 


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of which he speaks in his Diary under date August 24 of 
that year : — 

" Up and dispatched several businesses at home in the morning, 
and then comes Simpson to set up my other new presses for my 
books ; and so he and I fell to the furnishing of my new closett, and 
taking out the things out of my old ; and I kept him with me all 
day, and he dined with me, and so all the afternoone, till it was quite 
darke hanging things — that is my maps and pictures and draughts — 
and setting up my books, and as much as we could do, to my most 
extraordinary satisfaction ; so that I think it will be as noble a closett 
as any man hath, and light enough — though, indeed, it would be better 
to have had a little more light." 

Of the many Magdalene men of eminence, from the days 
of Sir Robert Rede and Archbishop Cranmer down to those 
of Charles Parnell and Charles Kingsley, there is no need to 
speak in any other words than those of Fuller : " Every year 
this house produced some eminent scholars, as living cheaper 
and privater, freer from town temptations by their remote 

No Cambridge foundation, probably no academic in- 
stitution in Europe, furnishes so striking an example as does 
Trinity College of the change from the mediaeval to the 
modern conception of education and of learning. If, indeed, 
we may take the words of the Preamble to his Charter of 
Foundation, dated the thirty-eighth year of his reign (1546), 
as a statement of his own personal aims, King Henry had 
conceived a very noble ideal of liberal education. After 

referring to his special reasons for thankfulness to Almighty 



God for peace at home and successful wars abroad — peace 
had just been declared with France after the brief campaign 
conducted by Henry himself, which had been signalised by 
the capture of Boulogne — and above all for the introduction 
of the pure truth of Christianity into his kingdom, he sets 
forth his intention of founding a college " to the glory and 
honour of Almighty God, and the Holy and undivided 
Trinity, for the amplification and establishment of the 
Christian and true religion, the extirpation of heresy and 
false opinion, the increase and continuance of divine learning 
and all kinds of good letters, the knowledge of the tongues, 
the education of the youth in piety, virtue, learning, and 
science, the relief of the poor and destitute, the prosperity 
of the Church of Christ, and the common good and happi- 
ness of his kingdom and subjects." 1 

The site upon which King Henry VIII. had decided 
to place his college is also mentioned in this preamble to the 
Charter of Foundation. It was to be "on the soil, ground, 
sites, and precincts of the late hall and college, commonly 
called the King's Hall, and of a certain late college of 
S. Michael, commonly called Michaelhouse, and also of a 
certain house and hostel called Fyswicke or Fysecke hostel, 
and of another house and hostel, commonly called Hovinge 
Inn." In addition to the hostels here named there were, 
however, several others which occupied, or had occupied, the 
site previous to i 548 — for one or two previous to this time 
had been absorbed by their neighbours — whose names have 

1 Cooper's " Memorials," v. ii. p. 135. 

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been preserved, and whose position has been put beyond 
doubt by recent researches. These other hostels were 
S. Catharine's, S. Margaret's, Crouched Hostel, Tyler or 
Tyler's, S. Gregory's, Garet or Saint Gerard's Hostel, and 
Oving's Inn. 

We may indicate roughly, perhaps, the position of these 

various halls and hostels in relation to the present college 

buildings, if we imagine ourselves to have entered the great 

gate of Trinity from the High Street, from Trinity Street, 

and to be standing on the steps leading into the Great Court, 

and facing across towards the Master's lodge. Immediately 

in front of us, on what is now the vacant green sward between 

the gateway steps and the sun-dial, there stood in the fifteenth 

century King's Hall, or that block of it which a century 

earlier had been built to take the place of the thatched and 

timbered house which Edward III. had bought from Robert 

de Croyland, and had made into his " King's Hall of 

Scholars." The entrance to this house, however, was not 

on the side which would have been immediately facing the 

point where we stand on the steps. It was entered by a 

doorway on its south side, opening into a lane — King's 

Childers' Lane it was called — which, starting from the High 

Street, from a point slightly to the south of the Great Gate, 

crossed the Great Court directly east and west, and then 

bending slightly to the north, reached the river at Dame 

Nichol's Hythe, at a point just beyond the bend in the 

river by the end of the present library. Returning to our 



point of view we should find on our right, occupying the 
easternmost part of the existing chapel, the old chapel of 
King's Hall, built in 1465, and beyond it, westwards, other 
buildings, — the buttery, the kitchen, the hall, — forming four 
sides of a little cloistered court, partly occupying the site 
of the present ante-chapel, and partly on its northern side 
facing across the Cornhithe Lane to the gardens of the old 
Hospital of S. John. 

Turning to our left to the southern half of the great court, 
to that part which in the old days was south of King's 
Childers' Lane, south, that is, of the present fountain, we 
should find the site intersected by a lane running directly 
north and south, from a point at the south-west corner of the 
King's Hall about where the sun-dial now stands, to a point 
in Trinity Lane, or S. Michael's Lane as it was then called, 
where now stands the Queen's Gate. This was Le Foule 
Lane, and was practically a continuation of that Milne Street 
of which we have spoken in an earlier chapter as running 
parallel with the river past the front of Trinity Hall, Clare, 
and Queens' to the King's Mills. To the east of Foule Lane, 
occupying the site of the present range of buildings on the 
east and south-east of the great court, stood the Hostel of 
S. Catharine, with Fyswicke Hostel on its western side. 
Michaelhouse occupied practically the whole of the south- 
western quarter of the great court, with its gardens stretching 
down to the river. S. Catharine's, Fyswicke Hostel, and 
Michaelhouse all had entrances into S. Michael's or Flax- 

hithe, now Trinity Lane. Beyond and across Flaxhithe Lane 



was Oving's Inn, on the site of the present Bishop's Hostel, 
with Garett Hostel still further south, on land adjoining 
Trinity Hall. S. Gregory's and the Crouched Hostel stood 
north of Michaelhouse, side by side, on a space now 
occupied for the most part by the great dining-hall. The 
Tyled or Tyler's Hostel was on the High Street adjoining 
the north-east corner of S. Catharine's. S. Margaret's Hall, 
which had adjoined the house of William Fyswicke, had been 
at an early date absorbed in the Fyswicke Hostel. 

It is plain that these various halls and hostels would 
sufficiently supply all the early needs of King Henry's new 
college. There was the chapel of King's Hall, the halls of 
King's Hall, Michaelhouse and Fyswicke's Hostel, and the 
chambers in each of these and the smaller hostels. During 
the first three years or so, from 1546 to 1549, the exist- 
ing buildings seem to have been occupied without alteration. 
In 1550 and 1551 parts of Michaelhouse and Fyswicke's 
Hostel were pulled down, and their gates walled up. The 
Foule Lane, which separated them, was closed, and the new 
Queen's gate built at the point where that lane had joined 
Michael's Lane. The south ranges of both Fyswicke's 
Hostel and Michaelhouse on each side of this gate were 
retained. The hall, butteries, and kitchen of Michaelhouse 
on the west were also retained, and continued northwards to 
form a lodge for the Master, and this range was returned 
easterwards at right angles to join the King Edward's gate- 
way at the south-west corner of King's Hall. A little later 

the hall, butteries, and chapel of King's Hall were removed 

265 2 L 


to make way for the new chapel, which was begun in 1555 
and completed about ten years later. 

An early map of Cambridge, made by order of Archbishop 
Parker in 1 574, and preserved in one of the early copies of 
Caius' " History of the University" in the British Museum, 
shows the College in the state which we have thus described, 
the outline of the Great Court, that is to say, practically 
defined as it is to-day, but broken at two points, one by the 
projection from its western side joining the Master's lodge 
with the old gateway of King Edward, still standing in its 
ancient position, more or less on the site of the present sun- 
dial : the other by a set of chambers, built in 1490, project- 
ing from the eastern range of buildings, and ending at a point 
somewhat east of the site of the present fountain. 

The transformation of the Great Court into the shape in 
which we now know it is due entirely to the energy and skill 
of Dr. Thomas Neville, at that time Dean of Peterborough, 
who was appointed Master of Trinity in 1573. "Dr. 
Thomas Neville," says Fuller, " the eighth master of this 
College, answering his anagram ' most heavenly! anc l practising 
his own allusive motto, ' ne vile velis,' being by the rules of 
the philosopher himself to be accounted fxeyaXo-n-pe-wi^^ as of 
great performances, for the general good, expended £3000 
of his own in altering and enlarging the old and adding a 
new court thereunto, being at this day the stateliest and 
most uniform college in Christendom, out of which may be 
carved three Dutch universities." 1 

1 Fuller's "History of Cambridge,*' p. 236. 


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Neville's first work was the completion of the ranges 
of chambers on the east and south sides of the great court, 
including the Queen's gateway tower. On the completion 
of these in 1599 the projecting range of buildings on the east 
side were pulled down. In 1601 he pulled down the cor- 
responding projection on the western side, removing the 
venerable pile known as King Edward the Third's Gate. This 
was rebuilt at the west end of the chapel as we now see it. 
The Master's lodge was prolonged northwards, and a library 
with chambers below it was built eastwards to meet the old 
gate. The great quadrangle was thus complete, the largest 
in either university, 1 having an area of over 90,000 square 
feet. To Dr. Neville also in the Great Court is owing the 
additional storey to the Great Gate, with the statue of 
Henry VIII. in a niche on its eastern front, and the statue 
of King James, his Queen, and Prince Charles on its western 
side, the beautiful fountain erected in 1602, and the hall in 
1604. The building of this hall, which with certain varia- 
tions is copied from the hall of the Middle Temple, is thus 
described in the " Memoriale " of the College. 

" When he had completed the great quadrangle and brought it 
to a tasteful and decorous aspect, for fear that the deformity of the 
Hall, which through extreme old age had become almost ruinous, 
should cast, as it were, a shadow over its splendour, he advanced 
^3000 for seven years out of his own purse, in order that a great 
hall might be erected answerable to the beauty of the new buildings. 
Lastly, as in the erection of these buildings he had been promoter 

1 "Tom Quad," the great court of Christ Church, Oxford, has an area of 74,520 
square feet. 



rather than author, and had brought these results to pass more by 
labour and assiduity than by expenditure of his own money, he 
erected at a vast cost, the whole of which was defrayed by himself, a 
buildine in the second court adorned with beautiful columns, and 
elaborated with the most exquisite workmanship, so that he might 
connect his own name for ever with the extension of the College." 

Unfortunately, much of the original beauty of Neville's 
Court was spoilt by the alterations of Mr. Essex in 1755, 
"a local architect whose life," as Mr. J. G. Clark has truly 
said, " was spent in destroying that which ought to have been 

The building of the library which forms the western side 
of Neville's Court was due mainly to the energy of Dr. Isaac 
Barrow, who was master from 1673 to 1677. The architect 
was Sir Christopher Wren, who himself thus describes his 
scheme : — 

" I haue given the appearance of arches as the order required, fair 
and lofty ; but I haue layd the floor of the Library upon the impostes, 
which answer to the pillars in the cloister and levells of the old floores, 
and haue filled the arches with relieus stone, of which I haue seen the 
efFect abroad in good building, and I assure you where porches are 
low with flat ceelings is infinitely more gracefull than lowe arches 
would be, and is much more open and pleasant, nor need the mason 
feare the performance because the arch discharges the weight, and I 
shall direct him in a firme manner of executing the designe. By this 
contrivance the windowes of the Library rise high and give place for 

the deskes against the walls The disposition of the shelves 

both along the walls and breaking out from the walls must needes 
proue very convenient and gracefull, and the best way for the students 
will be to haue a little square table in each celle with 2 chaires." 



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The table and the chairs, as well as the book-shelves, were 
designed by Wren, who was also at pains to give full-sized 
sections of all the mouldings, because " we are scrupulous 
in small matters, and you must pardon us. Architects are as 
great pedants as criticks or heralds." 

In 1669 Bishop's Hostel — so called after Bishop Hacket of 
Lichfield, who gave £1200 towards the cost — took the place 
of the two minor halls, Oving's Inn and Garett Hostel. No 
further addition to the College buildings was made until the 
nineteenth century, when the new court was built from 
the designs of Wilkins in the mastership of Dr. Christopher 
Wordsworth, and at a later time the two courts opposite the 
Great Gate across Trinity Street, by the benefaction of a sum 
approaching £ 100,000 by Dr. Whewell. To Dr. Whewell 
also belongs the merit of the restoration of the front of 
the Master's lodge, by the removal of the classical facade 
which had been so foolishly and tastelessly imposed upon 
the old work built by Dr. Bentley during his memorable 
tenure of the mastership from 1700 to 1742. 

The mention of the name of that most masterful of York- 
shire men and most brilliant of Cambridge scholars and critics 
inevitably suggests the picture of that long feud between the 
Fellows of Trinity and their Master which lasted for nearly 
half a century, for a year at any rate longer than the Pelo- 
ponnesian war, and was almost as full of exciting incidents. 
Those who care to read the miserable and yet amusing story 
can do so for themselves in the pages of Bishop Monk's " Life 

of Richard Bentley." It is more to the purpose here, I think, 



to recall the kindly and judicious verdict of the great scholar's 
life at Trinity by the greatest Cambridge scholar of to-day. 

"It must never be forgotten," writes Sir Richard Jebb, " that 
Bentley's mastership of Trinity is memorable for other things 
than its troubles. He was the first Master who established 
a proper competition for the great prizes of that illustrious 
college. The scholarships and fellowships had previously been 
given by a purely oral examination. Bentley introduced 
written papers ; he also made the award of scholarships 
to be annual instead of biennial, and admitted students of 
the first year to compete for them. He made Trinity College 
the earliest home for a Newtonian school, by providing in 
it an observatory, under the direction of Newton's disciple 
and friend — destined to an early death — Roger Cotes. He 
fitted up a chemical laboratory in Trinity for Vigani of 
Verona, the professor of chemistry. He brought to Trinity 
the eminent orientalist, Sike of Bremen, afterwards professor 
of Hebrew. True to the spirit of the royal founder, Bentley 
wished Trinity College to be indeed a house ' of all kinds 
of good letters,' and at a time when England's academic ideals 
were far from high he did much to render it not only a 
great college, but also a miniature university." ' 

And " a house of all kinds of good letters " Trinity has 
remained, and will surely always remain. As we walk 
lingeringly through its halls and courts what thronging 
historic memories crowd upon us ! We may not forget the 
failures as well as the successes ; the defeats as well as the 

1 " National Dictionary of Biography," vol. iv. p. 312. 



triumphs ; "the lost causes and impossible loyalties" as well 
as the persistent faith and the grand achievement ; but what 
an inspiration we feel must such a place be to the young souls 
who, year by year, enter its gates. How can the flame of 
ideal sympathy with the great personalities of their country's 
history fail to be kindled or kept alive in such a place ? 
Here by the Great Gate, on the first floor to the north, are the 
rooms where Isaac Newton lived. It was to these rooms 
that in 1666 he brought back the glass prism which he had 
bought in the Stourbridge Fair, and commenced the studies 
which eventually made it possible for Pope to write the 
epitaph : — 

" Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night, 
God said ' Let Newton be ! ' and all was light." 

It was in these rooms that he had entertained his friends, 
John Locke, Richard Bentley, Isaac Barrow, Edmund Halley, 
Gilbert Burnett, who afterwards wrote of him, " the whitest 
soul I ever knew." It was here that he wrote his " Principia." 
It is in the ante-chapel close by that there stands that beauti- 
ful statue of him by Roubiliac, which Chantrey called "the 
noblest of our English statues," and of which Wordsworth has 
recorded how he used to lie awake at night to think of that 
"silent face" shining in the moonlight : — 

"The marble index of a mind for ever 
Voyaging through strange seas of thought alone." 

And in the chapel beyond, with its double range of "windows 

richly dight " with the figures of saints and worthies and 

273 2 M 


benefactors of the College — Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Edward 
Coke, Sir Harry Spelman, Lord Craven, Roger Cotes, Arch- 
bishop Whitgiit, Bishop Pearson, Bishop Barrow, Bishop 
Hacket, the poets Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, 
Cowley, and Dryden — is it possible for the youthful wor- 
shipper not sometimes to be aroused and uplifted above the 
thoughts of sordid vulgarity, of moral isolation, of mean ambi- 
tion, to " see visions and dream dreams," visions of coming 
greatness for city, or country, or empire, visions of great 
principles struggling in mean days of competitive scrambling, 
dreams of opportunity of some future service for the common 
good, which shall not be unworthy of his present heritage in 
these saints and heroes of the past, who may — 

" Live again 
In minds made better by their presence ; live 
In pulses stirred to generosity, 
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn 
For miserable aims that end with self, 
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars, 
And with their mild persistence urge man's search 
To vaster issues." 




" Nee modo seminarium augustum et conclusum nimis, verum in se 
amplissimum campum collegium esse cupimus : ubi juvenes, apum more, de 
omnigenis flosculis pro libita libent, modo mel legant, quo et eorum procud- 
antur linguae et pectora, tanquam crura, thymo compleantur : ita ut tandem 
ex collegio quasi ex alveari evolantes, novas in quibus se exonerent ecclesiae 
sedes appetant." — Statutes of Sidney College. 

Queen Elizabeth and the Founder of Emmanuel — The Puritan Age — Sir 
Walter Mildmay — The Building of Emmanuel — The Tenure of Fellow- 
ships — Puritan Worthies — The Founder of Harvard — Lady Frances 
Sidney — The Sidney College Charter — The Buildings — The Chapel the 
old Franciscan Refectory — Royalists and Puritans — Oliver Cromwell — 
Thomas Fuller — A Child's Prayer for his Mother. 

I HEAR, Sir Walter," said Queen Elizabeth to the 
founder of Emmanuel College, "you have been erect- 
ing a Puritan foundation." " No, madam," he replied, 
" far be it from me to countenance anything contrary 
to your established laws ; but I have set an acorn, which, 
when it becomes an oak, God alone knows what will be the 
fruit therefrom." And Sir Walter Mildmay expressed no 
doubt truthfully what was his own intention as a founder, 
for although it is customary to speak of both Emmanuel and 
Sidney Colleges as Puritan foundations, and although it admits 
of no question that the prevailing tone of Emmanuel College 

was from the first intensely Puritan in tone, vet it cannot 



certainly be said that either Emmanuel College or the college 
established by the Lady Frances Sidney two years later, were 
specially designed by their founders to strengthen the Puritan 
movement in the University. They synchronised with it 
no doubt, and many of their earliest members gave ample 
proof of their sympathy with it. But as foundations they 
sprang rather from the impulse traceable on the one hand 
to the literary spirit of the Renaissance, and on the other 
to the desire of promoting that union of rational religion with 
sound knowledge, which the friends of the New Learning, 
the disciples of Colet, Erasmus, and More had at heart. The 
two colleges were born, in fact, at the meeting-point of two 
great epochs of history. The age of the Renaissance was 
passing into the age of Puritanism. Rifts which were still 
little were widening every hour, and threatening ruin to the 
fabric of Church and State which the Tudors had built up. 
A new political world was rising into being ; a world healthier, 
more really national, but less picturesque, less wrapt in the 
mystery and splendour that poets love. Great as were the 
faults of Puritanism, it may fairly claim to be the first 
political system which recognised the grandeur of the people 
as a whole. 

As great a change was passing over the spiritual sym- 
pathies of man ; a sterner Protestantism was invigorating 
and ennobling life by its morality, by its seriousness, and by 
its intense conviction of God. But it was at the same time 
hardening and narrowing it. The Bible was superseding 

Plutarch. The obstinate questionings which haunted the 


■ * 

LU3 J \9 ^,1 





finer souls of the Renaissance were being stereotyped in the 
theological formulas of the Puritan. The sense of divine 
omnipotence was annihilating man. The daring which 
turned England into a people of adventurers, the sense of 
inexhaustible resources, the buoyant freshness of youth, the 
intoxicating sense of beauty and joy, which inspired Sidney 
and Marlowe and Drake, was passing away before the con- 
sciousness of evil and the craving to order man's life aright 
before God. 

Emmanuel and Sidney Colleges were the children of this 
transition period. Sir Walter Mildmay, the founder of 
Emmanuel, was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the reign 
of Elizabeth, known and trusted by the Queen from her 
girlhood — she exchanged regularly New Year's gifts with 
him — a tried friend and discreet diplomatist, who had espe- 
cially been distinguished in the negotiations in connection with 
the imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots. He had been 
educated at Christ's College, though apparently he had taken 
no degree. He was a man, however, of some learning, and 
retained throughout life a love for classical literature. Sir 
John Harrington, in his " Orlando Furioso," quotes a Latin 
stanza, which he says he derived from the Latin poems of 
Sir Walter Mildmay. These poems, however, are not other- 
wise known. He is also spoken of as the writer of a book 
entitled " A Note to Know a Good Man." His interest in 
his old university and sympathy with letters is attested by 
the fact that he contributed a gift of stone to complete the 

tower of Great S. Mary's, and established a Greek lectureship 



and six scholarships at Christ's College. He had acquired 
considerable wealth in his service of the State, having also 
inherited a large fortune from his father, who had been 
one of Henry VIII. 's commissioners for receiving the sur- 
render of the dissolved monasteries. It was fitting, perhaps, 
he felt, that some portion of this wealth should be devoted 
to the service of religion and sound learning. Anyhow, in 
the month of January 1584, we find the Queen granting to 
her old friend, " his heirs, executors, and assigns," a charter 
empowering them " to erect, found, and establish for all 
time to endure a certain college of sacred theology, the 
sciences, philosophy and good arts, of one master and thirty 
fellows and scholars, graduate or non-graduate, or more or 
fewer according to the ordinances and statutes of the same 
college." On the 23rd of the previous November, Sir 
Walter had purchased for £550 the land and buildings of 
the Dominican or Black Friars, which had been established 
at Cambridge in 1279 and dissolved in 1538. During the 
fifty years that had elapsed since the dissolution the property 
had passed through various hands. Upon passing into the 
hands of Sir Walter it is thus described: — 

"All that the scite, circuit, ambulance and precinct of the late 
Priory of Fryers prechers, commonly called the black fryers within the 
Towne of Cambrigge . . . and all mesuages, houses, buildinges, 
barnes, stables, dovehouses, orchards, gardens, pondes, stewes, waters, 
land and soyle within the said scite. . . . And all the walles of 
stone, brick or other thinge compassinge and enclosinge the said 




The present buildings stand upon nearly the same sites as 
those occupied by the original buildings, which were adapted 
to the requirements of the new college by Ralph Symons, the 
architect, who had already been employed at Trinity and 
S. John's. The hall, parlour, and butteries were constructed 
out of the Church of the Friars. It is recorded that " in re- 
pairing the Combination Room about the year 1762, traces of 
the high altar were very apparent near the present fireplace." 
The Master's lodge was formed at the east end of the same 
range, either by the conversion of the east part of the church, 
or by the erection of a new building. A new chapel, running 
north and south — the non-orientation, it is said, being due 
to Puritan feeling — was built to the north of the Master's 
lodge. The other new buildings consisted of a kitchen on 
the north side of the hall and a long range of chambers en- 
closing the court on the south. Towards the east there were 
no buildings, the court on that side being enclosed by a low 
wall. The entrance to the College was in Emmanuel Lane, 
through a small outer court, having the old chapel as its 
southern range and the kitchen as the northern. From this 
the principal court was reached by passages at either end of 
the hall. The range known as the Brick Building was added 
in 1632, extending southwards from the east end ot the 
Founder's Chambers. In 1668 the present chapel was built 
facing east and west, in the centre of the southern side of the 
principal court. By this time, it is said, the old chapel had 
become ruinous. Moreover, it had never been consecrated, 

and the Puritanical observances alleged to have been practised 



in it were giving some offence to the Restoration authorities. 
The following statement, drawn up in 1603, 1 is interesting, 
not only as giving a graphic picture of the disorders com- 
plained of at Emmanuel, but also incidentally of the customs 
of other colleges : — 

"1. First for a prognostication of disorder, whereas all the 
chappells in y" University are built with the chancell eastward, 
according to y c uniform order of all Christendome. The chancell 
in y e colledge standeth north, and their kitchen eastward. 

" 2. All other colledges in Cambridge do strictly observe, accord- 
ing to y e laws and ordinances of y e Church of Englande, the form of 
publick prayer, prescribed in y c Communion Booke. In Emmanuel 
Colledge they do follow a private course of publick prayer, after y r 
own fashion, both Sondaies, Holydaies and workie daies. 

" 3. In all other colledges, the M rs and Scholers of all sorts do 
wear surplisses and hoods, if they be graduates, upon y c Sondaies and 
Holydaies in y e time of Divine Service. But they of Emmanuel 
Colledge have not worn that attier, either at y e ordinary Divine Service, 
or celebration of y e Lord's Supper, since it was first erected. 

" 4. All other colledges do wear, according to y e order of y c 
University, and many directions given from the late Queen, gowns of 
a sett fashion, and square capps. But they of Eman. Colledge are 
therein altogether irregular, and hold themselves not to be tied to 
any such orders. 

" 5. Every other Colledge according to the laws in that behalf 
provided, and to the custome of the King's Householde, do refrayne 
their suppers upone Frydaies and other Fasting and Ember daies. 
But they of Eman. Coll. have suppers every such nights throughout 
y c year, publickly in the gr. Hall, yea upon good Fridaye itself. 

1 MSS. Barker, vi. 85 ; MSS. Harl. Mus. Brit., 7033 ; quoted, Willis and 
Clark, ii. 700. 



" 6. All other Colledges do use one manner of forme in celebratinge 
the Holy Communion, according to the order of the Communion 
Boolce, as particularlye the Communicants do receive kneelinge, with 
the particular application of these words, viz., The Body of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, etc.; The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, etc.; as the s d 
Boolce prescribeth. But in Eman. Coll. they receive that Holy 
Sacrament, sittinge upon forms about the Communion Table, and doe 
pulle the loafe one from the other, after the minister hath begon. 
And soe y e cuppe one drinking as it were to another, like good 
Fellows without any particular application of y c s d wordes, more than 
once for all. 

" 7. In other Colledges and Churches, generally none are admitted 
to attend att the Communion Table, in the celebration of the Holy 
Mystery, but Ministers and Deacons. But in Eman. Coll. the wine 
is filled and the table is attended by the Fellows' subsizers." 

There is one interesting feature in connection with the 
foundation of Emmanuel College which calls for special 
notice, as showing that the Puritan founder was fully con- 
scious of the dangers attaching to a perpetual tenure of 
Fellowships, as affording undue facilities for evading those 
practical duties of learning and teaching, the efficient dis- 
charge of which he rightly considered it should be the main 
object of the University to demand, and the interest of the 
nation to secure. " We have founded the College," says Sir 
Walter, " with the design that it should be, by the grace of 
God, a seminary of learned men for the supply of the Church, 
and for the sending forth of as large a number as possible of 
those who shall instruct the people in the Christian faith. 
We would not have any Fellow suppose that we have given him, 
in this College, a perpetual abode, a warning which we deem 

28l 2 N 


the more necessary, in that we have ofttimes been present 
when many experienced and wise men have taken occasion 
to lament, and have supported their complaints by past and 
present utterances, that in other colleges a too protracted stay 
of Fellows has been no slight bane to the common weal and 
to the interests of the Church." 1 

In the sequel, however, the wise forethought of Sir Walter 
Mildmay was to a great extent frustrated. The clause of the 
College statutes which embodied his design was set aside in 
the reaction towards conservative university tradition, which 
followed upon the re-establishment of the Stuart dynasty. 
A similar clause in the statutes of Sidney College, which had 
been simply transcribed from the original Emmanuel statutes, 
was about the same time rescinded, on the ground that it 
was a deviation from the customary practice of other societies, 
both at Oxford and Cambridge. It was not, in fact, until 
the close of the nineteenth century that university reformers 
were able to secure such a revision of the terms of Fellowship 
tenure as should obviate, on the one hand, the dangers which 
the wisdom of the Puritan founder foresaw, and, on the other, 
make adequate provision, under stringent and safe conditions, 
for the endowment of research. The old traditionary system 
is thus summarised by Mr. Mullinger : — 

"The assumption of priests' orders was indeed made, in most 
instances, an indispensable condition for a permanent tenure of a 
Fellowship, but it too often only served as a pretext under which 
all obligation to studious research was ignored, while the Fellowship 

1 "Documents," iii. 524, quoted by Mullinger, i. 3 14. 


itself again too often enabled the holder to evade with equal success 
the responsibilities of parish work. Down to a comparatively recent 
date, it has accordingly been the accepted theory with respect to 
nearly all College Fellowships that they are designed to assist clergy- 
men to prepare for active pastoral work, and not to aid the cause of 
learned or scientific research. Occasionally, it is true, the bestowal of a 
lay fellowship has fallen upon fruitful ground. The Plumian Professor- 
ship fostered the bright promise of a Cotes : the Lucasian sustained 
the splendid achievements of Newton. But for the most part those 
labours to which Cambridge can point with greatest pride and in 
whose fame she can rightly claim to share — the untiring scientific 
investigations which have established on a new and truer basis the 
classification of organic existence or the succession of extinct forms — 
or the long patience and profound calculations which have wrested 
from the abysmal depths of space the secrets of stupendous agencies 
and undreamed-of laws— or the scholarship which has restored, with 
a skill and a success that have moved the envy of united Germany, 
some of the most elaborate creations of the Latin muse — have 
been the achievements of men who have yielded indeed to the 
traditional theory a formal assent but have treated it with a virtual 
disregard." 1 

How essentially Puritan was the prevailing tone of Em- 
manuel during the early days we may surmise from the fact, 
that in the time of the Commonwealth no less than eleven 
masters of other colleges in the University came from this 
Foundation — Seaman of Peterhouse, Dillingham of Clare 
Hall, Whichcote of King's, Horton of Queens', Spurston of 
S. Catharine's, Worthington of Jesus, Tuckney of John's, 
Cudworth of Christ's, Sadler of Magdalene, Hill of Trinity. 

1 Muliinger, vol. i. p. 318. 


Among some of the earliest students to receive their edu- 
cation within its walls were many of the Puritan leaders 
of America. Cotton Mather, in his " Ecclesiastical History 
of New England," gives a conspicuous place in its pages 
to the names of Emmanuel men — Thomas Hooker, John 
Cotton, Thomas Shephard. " If New England," he says, 
" hath been in some respect Immanuel's Land, it is well ; 
but this I am sure of, Immanuel College contributed more 
than a little to make it so." Few patriotic Americans of the 
present day, visiting England, omit to make pilgrimage to 
Emmanuel, for was not the founder of their University, Har- 
vard College, an Emmanuel man, graduating from that college 
in 1 63 i, and proceeding to his M.A. degree in 1635 ? John 
Harvard, " the ever memorable benefactor of learning and 
religion in America," as Edward Everett justly styles him — 
" a godly gentleman and lover of learning," as he is called 
by his contemporaries, " a scholar, and pious in life, and 
enlarged towards the country and the good of it in life and 
death," seems indeed to have been a worthy son of both Em- 
manuel and of Cambridge, a Puritan indeed, but of that fuller 
and manlier type which was characteristic of the Eliza- 
bethan age rather than of the narrower, more contentious, 
more pedantic order which set in with and was hardened 
and intensified by the arbitrary provocations of the Stuart 

The last in date of foundation of the Cambridge Colleges 
with which we have to deal — for Downing College, unique 

as it is in many ways, and attractive (its precincts, " a park in 



& r 



t a; 




the heart of a city"), is not yet a century old, and its history, 
although in some respects of national importance, lies beyond 
our limit of time — was the " Ancient and Protestant Founda- 
tion of Sidney Sussex College." 

The foundress of Sidney Sussex College was the Lady 
Frances Sidney, one of the learned ladies of the court of 
Elizabeth. She was the aunt both of Sir Philip Sidney and 
of the Earl of Leicester ; the wife of Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, 
known at least to all readers of " Kenilworth " as the rival 
of Leicester. To-day the noble families of Pembroke, 
Carnarvon, and Sidney all claim her as a common ancestress. 
A few years ago, in conjunction with the authorities of the 
college, they restored her tomb, which occupies the place 
of the altar in the chapel of S. Paul in Westminster 
Abbey. It was the Dean of Westminster, her friend Dr. 
Goodman, who gave to the college that portrait of the 
foundress which hangs above the high table in the college 

It is a characteristic of the period which may be worth 

noting here — of the middle, that is, of the sixteenth century 

— when the destinies of Europe were woven by the hands of 

three extraordinary queens, who ruled the fortunes of England, 

France, and Scotland — that, as the fruits of the Renaissance 

and of the outgrowth of the New Learning, and perhaps also 

of the independent spirit of the coming Puritanism, learned 

women should in some degree be leading the van of English 


How long the Lady Frances had had the intention of 



founding a college, and what was the prompting motive, we 
do not know. In her will, however, which is dated Decem- 
ber 6, 1588, the intention is clearly stated. After giving 
instructions as to her burial and making certain bequests, she 
proceeds to state " that since the decease of her late lord " — 
he had died five years previously — " she had yearly gathered 
out of her revenues so much as she conveniently could, pur- 
posing to erect some goodly and godly monument for the 
maintenance of good learning." In performance of the same 
her charitable pretence, she directs her executors to employ 
the sum of ^5000 (made up from her ready-money yearly 
reserved, a certain portion of plate, and other things which 
she had purposely left) together with all her un bequeathed 
goods, for the erection of a new college in the University of 
Cambridge, to be called the " Lady Frances Sidney Sussex 
College, and for the purchasing some competent lands for the 
maintaining of a Master, ten Fellows, and twenty Scholars, 
if the said £5000 and unbequeathed goods would thereunto 

On her death in the following year her executors, the 
Earl of Kent and Sir John Harrington, at once attempted 
to carry out her wishes. Of them and their endeavour, 
Fuller, himself a Sidney man, has thus, as always, quaintly 
written : — 

" These two noble executors in the pursuance of the will of this 
testatrix, according to her desire and direction therein, presented 
Queen Elizabeth with a jewel, being like a star, of rubies and 
diamonds, with a ruby in the midst thereof, worth an hundred and 



forty pounds, having on the back side a hand delivering up a heart 
into a crown. At the delivery hereof they humbly requested of her 
Highness a mortmain to found a College, which she graciously 
granted unto them " — though the royal license did not actually 
come until five years later. " We usually observe infants born in 
the seventh month, though poor and pitiful creatures, are vital ; and 
with great care and good attendance, in time prove proper persons. 
To such a partus septimestris may Sidney College well be resembled, 
so low, lean, and little at the birth thereof. Alas ! what is five 
thousand pounds to buy the site, build and endow a College there- 
with ? . . . Yet such was the worthy care of her honourable execu- 
tors, that this Benjamin College — the least and last in time, and born 
after (as he at) the death of his mother — thrived in a short time to a 
competent strength and stature." ! 

Some delay ensued, for it was not until 1593 that, at the 
motion of the executors, an Act of Parliament was passed 
enabling Trinity College to sell or let at tee farm rent the 
site of the Grey Friars. The College charter is dated Feb- 
ruary 14, 1596. The building was commenced in the follow- 
ing May, and completed, with the exception of the chapel, in 
1598. In the same year the original statutes were framed 
by the executors. They are largely copied from those of 
Emmanuel, and are equally verbose, cumbrous, and ill- 
arranged. One clause in them which speaks of the Master as 
one who " Papismum, Hcereses, super stitiones, et errores omnes ex 
animo abhorret et detestatur" testifies to the intentionally Pro- 
testant character ot the College, a fact, however, which did 
not prevent James II., on a vacancy in the mastership, intrud- 

1 Fuller's " History of Cambridge," p. 291. 


ing on the society a Papist Master, Joshua Basset, of Caius, 
of whom the Fellows complained that he was " let loose upon 
them to do what he liked." They had, however, their 
revenge, for, although later he was spoken of as " such a 
mongrel Papist, who had so many nostrums in his religion 
that no part of the Roman Church could own him," in 1688 
he was deposed. 

The architect of the College buildings was Ralph Symons, 
who had built Emmanuel and " thoroughly reformed a great 
part of Trinity College." It is interesting to note that more 
than half of the sum received from Lady Sidney's estate to 
found and endow the College was expended in the erection 
of the hall, the Master's lodge, and the hall court. These 
buildings formed the whole of the College when it was opened 
in 1598. How picturesque it must have been in those days, 
before the red brick of which it is built was covered with 
plaster, one can see by Loggan's print of the College, made 
about 1688. The buildings are simple enough, but quite 
well designed. The " rose-red " of the brick, at least, seems 
to have struck the poet, Giles Fletcher, when he wrote 
of Sidney in 1633 in his Latin poem on the Cambridge 
colleges : — 

" Haec inter media aspicies mox surgere tecta 
Culminibus niveis roseisque nitentia muris : 
Nobilis haec doctis sacrabit femina musis, 
Conjugio felix, magno felicior ortu, 
Insita Sussexo proles Sidneia trunco." 

The arrangement of the hall, kitchen, buttery, and Master's 
lodge was much the same as at present. The hall had an 




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v- v S 

"' 11 

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X ■ -ft. 

E*£ ' 

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open timber roof, with a fine oriel window at the dais end, 
but no music gallery. Fuller says that the College " continued 
without a chapel some years after the first founding thereof, 
until at last some good men's charity supplied this defect." 
In 1602, however, the old hall of the friars — Fuller calls it 
the dormitory, but there is little doubt that it was in reality 
the refectory — was fitted up as a chapel, and a second storey 
added to form a library. A few years later, about 1628, a 
range of buildings forming the south side of the chapel court 
was built. In 1747, the buildings having become ruinous, 
extensive repairs were carried out, and the hall was fitted up 
in the Italian manner. The picturesque gateway which had 
stood in the centre of the street wall of the hall court was 
removed, and a new one of more severe character was built 
in its place. This also at a later time was removed and 
re-erected as a garden entrance from Jesus Lane. 

Between 1777 and 1780 the old chapel was destroyed, 
and replaced by a new building designed by Essex, in a style 
in which, to say the least, there is certainly nothing to re- 
mind the modern student of the old hall of the Grey Friars' 
Monastery, where for three centuries of stirring national life 
the Franciscan monks had kept alive, let us hope, something 
of the mystic tenderness, the brotherly compassion, the fer- 
vour of missionary zeal, which they had learnt from their 
great founder, Saint Francis of Assisi. 

Of the old Fellows' garden, which in 1890 was partly 

sacrificed to provide a site for the new range of buildings 

and cloister — perhaps the most beautiful of modern collegiate 

289 2 o 


buildings at either university — designed by Pearson, Dyer 
writes with enthusiasm : — 

" Here is a good garden, an admirable bowling green, a beautiful 
summer house, at the back of which is a walk agreeably winding, 
with variety of trees and shrubs intertwining, and forming the whole 
length, a fine canopy overhead ; with nothing but singing and 
fragrance and seclusion ; a delightful summer retreat ; the sweetest 
lovers' or poets' walk, perhaps in the University." 

To the extremely eclectic character of the College in 
its early days the Master's admission register testifies. 
Among its members were some of the stoutest Royalists 
and also some of the stoutest Republicans in the country. 
Among the former we find such names as those of Edward 
Montagu (afterwards first Baron Montagu of Boughton), 
brother of the first Master, a great benefactor of the College ; 
of Sir Roger Lestrange, of Hunstanton Hall, in Norfolk, 
celebrated as the editor of the first English newspaper, " a 
man of good wit, and a fancy very luxuriant and of an enter- 
prising nature," in early youth — his attempt to recover the 
port of Lynn for the King in 1644 is one of the funniest 
episodes in English History — a very Don Quixote of the 
Royalist party ; and of Seth Ward, a fellow of the College, 
who was ejected in Commonwealth times, but had not to 
live long, before he was able to write back to his old College 
that he had been elected to the See of Exeter, and that 
" the old bishops were exceeding disgruntled at it, to see 
a brisk young bishop but forty years old, not come in at 

the right door, but leap over the pale." Among the Re- 



publican members of the College it is enough, perhaps, to 
name the name of Oliver Cromwell. And of him, at least, 
whatever our final verdict on his career may be, whatever 
dreams of personal ambition we may think mingled with 
his aim, we cannot surely deny, if at least we have ever 
read his letters, that his aim was, in the main, a high and 
unselfish one, and that in the career, which to our modern 
minds may seem so strange and complex, he had seen the 
leading of a divine hand that drew him from the sheepfolds 
to mould England into a people of God. And to some, 
surely, he seems the most human-hearted sovereign and 
most imperial man in all English annals since the days of 
Alfred. And no one, I trust, would in these days en- 
dorse the verdict of the words interpolated in the College 
books between the entry of his name and the next on the 
list : — 

" Hie fuit grandis Me impostor, carnifex perditissimus, qui, pientissimo 
rege Carolo prima nefaria e<ede sublato, ipsum usurpavit thronum, et tria 
regna per quinque ferme annorum spatium sub protectoris nomine indomita 
tyrannide vexavif," 

which may be Englished thus — 

" This was that arch hypocrite, that most abandoned murderer, 
who having by shameful slaughter put out of the way the most 
pious King, Charles the First, grasped the very throne, and for the 
space of nearly five years under the title of Protector harassed three 
kingdoms with inflexible tyranny." 

Rather, as we stand in the College Hall and gaze up 



at the stern features, as depicted by Cooper, 1 in that best of 
all the Cromwell portraits, shall we not commemorate this 
greatest of Sidney men, in Lowell's words, as — 

" One of the few who have a right to rank 
With the true makers : for his spirit wrought 
Order from chaos ; proved that Right divine 
Dwelt only in the excellence of Truth : 
And far within old darkness' hostile lines 
Advanced and pitched the shining tents of Light. 
Nor shall the grateful Muse forget to tell 
That — not the least among his many claims 
To deathless honour — he was Milton's friend." 

Thomas Fuller, too, who was neither Republican nor 
Royalist, but loyal to the good men of both parties in the 
State, is a name of which Sidney College might well be proud. 
No one can read any of his books, full as they are of imagina- 
tion, pathos, and an exuberant, often extravagant, but never 
ineffective wit, without heartily endorsing Coleridge's say- 
ing : " God bless thee, dear old man ! " and recognising 
the truth of his panegyric, " Next to Shakespeare, I am not 
certain whether Thomas Fuller, beyond all other writers, 
does not excite in me the sense and emulation of the mar- 

1 This portrait in crayons by Samuel Cooper (1609-72) was presented to the 
College in January 1766 by Thomas Hollis. In Hollis's papers underneath his 
memorandum of his present to the Coilege are three lines of Andrew Marvel — 

" I freely declare it, I am for old Noll ; 
Though his government did a tyrant resemble, 
He made England great, and her enemies tremble." 

Mr. Hollis also gave to Christ's College four copies of the " Paradise Lost," two of 
them first editions. In 1761 he sent to Trinity his portrait of Newton. He also 
presented books to the libraries of Harvard, Berne and Zurich ; chiefly Republican 
literature of the seventeenth century. 



vellous. . . . He was incomparably the most sensible, the 
least prejudiced great man in an age that boasted of a galaxy 
of great men." 

And with Fuller's name, indeed with Fuller's own words, in 
that benediction which, after eight years of residence, he gave 
to Sidney College, and which he himself calls his " Child's 
Prayer to his Mother," I may appropriately end this chapter. 

" Now though it be only the place of the parent, and proper to 
him (as the greater) to bless his child, yet it is of the duty of the 
child to pray for his parent, in which relation my best desires are due 
to this foundation, my mother (for the last eight years) in this 
University. May her lamp never lack light for oil, or oil for the 
light thereof. Zoar, is it not a little one? Yet who shall despise 
the day of small things? May the foot of sacrilege, if once offering 
to enter the gates thereof, stumble and rise no more. The Lord 
bless the labours of all the students therein, that they may tend 
and end at his glory, their own salvation, the profit and honour of 
the Church and Commonwealth." 

And not less appropriately, perhaps, may I end, not only 
this chapter, but this whole sketch of the story of Cambridge 
and its colleges — for to the memory of what more kindly, 
more sound-hearted, more pious soul could any Sidney man 
more fitly dedicate his book than to his — with the prayer 
in which, in closing his own History, he gracefully connects 
the name of Cambridge with that of the sister university, 
and commends them both to the charitable devotion of all 
good men. 

" O God ! who in the creating of the lower world didst first make 
light (confusedly diffused, as yet, through the imperfect universe) and 



afterwards didst collect the same into two great lights, to illuminate 
all creatures therein ; O Lord, who art a God of knowledge and dost 
lighten every man that cometh into the world ; O Lord, who in our 
nation hast moved the hearts of Founders and Benefactors to erect 
and endow two famous luminaries of learning and religion, bless them 
with the assistance of Thy Holy Spirit. Let neither of them con- 
test (as once Thy disciples on earth) which should be the greatest, 
but both contend which shall approve themselves the best in Thy 
presence. . . . And as Thou didst appoint those two great lights 
in the firmament to last till Thy servants shall have no need of the 
sun, nor of the moon to shine therein, for Thy glory doth lighten 
them ; so grant these old lights may continue until all acquired 
and infused knowledge be swallowed up with the vision and the 
fruition of Thy blessed-making Majesty. — Amen." 



Akeman Street, old Roman road known 
as, 15 

Alan de Walsingham, cathedral builder, 

Alcoclc, Thomas, Bishop of Ely, founder of 
Jesus College, 189, 190 ; his plan of in- 
corporating grammar-school with college, 

191. 193 
Alcwyne, departure of, from England, 54 
Audley, Sir Thomas, conversion of Buck- 
ingham College into Magdalene by, 255; 
Fuller's account of, 255, 256 ; grant of 
suppressed monasteries made to, 257 
Augustinian Friars, settlement of, on site 
of old Botanic Gardens, 74 

Barnard Flower, King's glazier, 155 
Barnwell, origin of name, 37 ; Augustinian 

priory of, 35, 36 ; foundation and further 

history of, 36, 37; rebuilding of, 38; 

present remains of, 38 
Barnwell Cartulary, 18, 40 
Barnwell Fair, 17, 18 
Barrow, Dr. Isaac, Master of Trinity, his 

work in connection with, 270 
Bateman, William, Bishop of Norwich, 

founder of Trinity Hall, 178 
Bede, monastic school of, 53, 54 ; book on 

" The Nature of Things " by, 54 
Benedictine Order, re-establishment of, 

under St. Dunstan, 55 ; discipline of, 


Bentley, Dr. Richard, Master of Trinity, 
feud between Fellows and, 27 1-72; work 
of, in connection with college, 272 

Bibliotheca Pepystana, 258 

Black Death, the, 105, 113, 136 


Black Friars, arrival of, in England, 57 ; 
land and buildings belonging to, pur- 
chased for site of Emmanuel College, 

Books, complaint by Roger Bacon of lack 

°f> 59 

Brazen George Inn, the scholars of Christ's 
lodged in, 224 

British earthworks, 14 

Buckingham College, description of, by 
Fuller, 254 ; foundation of, by Bene- 
dictines, 254 ; hall built in connection 
with, 254 ; lectures by Cranmer at, 255 ; 
semi-secular character of, 255 ; conver- 
sion of, into Magdalene College, 255 

Burne-Jones, designs by, for Jesus Chapel, 

Caius, John, founder of College, 116 ; de- 
sign for famous three gates by, n 6-21 ; 
death of, 121 

Camboritam, 16, 17 

Cambridge, verses on, by Lydgate, 2 ; 
legendary history of, 3-8 ; position of, 14 ; 
origin of name of, 15, 16 ; geographical 
position of, 17; early population of, 24; 
farm of, given as dower to the queen, 24 ; 
beginnings of municipal independence of, 
27; "the borough," overflow of, incor- 
porated with township of S. Benet, 28, 
32 ; first charter of, 50 

Cambridge Guilds, 122, 123, 124-28 

Cambridge University, migration of masters 
and scholars from Paris to, 61, 62 ; royal 
writs concerning, 62 ; description of in 
Middle Ages, 63, 64, 65 ; course of study 
pursued at, 65, ff. ; learning at, in thir- 



teenth century, 70-72 ; library, erected 

by Sir Gilbert Scott, 246 
Candle rent, insurrection of townspeople 

on account of, 134, 135 
Cantelupe, Nicholas, legendary history by, 

Carmelites, settlement of, on present site 

of Queens', 74 
Castle, old site of, 15; foundation of, by 

William the Conqueror, 22 ; use of, as 

prison, as a quarry, 23 ; gate-house of, 

demolished, 23 
Castle Hill, ancient earthwork known as, 

14, 15 
Chaucer, tradition concerning, 108 
Churches — 

Abbey, the, 39 

All Saints by the Castle, 34 

Holy Sepulchre, one of the four round 
churches of England, 40, 43, 44 

S. Benedict, 28, 29, 31, 127, 132-33 

S. Edward, 180; independence of, with 
regard to pulpit teaching, 1 S 1 , 182 

6". Giles, 34, 35 

S.John Zachary, 180 

S. Mary at Market, afterwards Great 
S. Mary, 1 2 5 

S. Peter, without the Trumpington Gate, 
afterwards called Little S. Mary, 88, 

S. Peter by the Castle, 34 
Close, Nicholas, architect of King's 

Chapel, 149. '5° 
Coleridge, S. T., scholar of Jesus, 212; 

poems written by, at College, 212 
College, meaning of the term in olden 

times, 64 
Colleges — 

Caius. See Gonville Hall 

Christ's, foundation of, 214, 219 ; God's 
House, taken as basis of, 219; Royal 
Charter of, 220; description of build- 
ings of, 221, 222 ; hall of, rebuilt by 
Sir Gilbert Scott, 223 ; windows of, 
223, 224 ; scholars of, lodged in the 
Ilrazen George, 224; Rat's Hall, 


erection of, 224 ; further buildings of, 
erected by Inigo Jones, 224; "re- 
beautifying the Chappell" of, 224, 
227 ; John Milton and Charles Darwin 
members of, 227, 229 ; other distin- 
guished members of, 229, 230 

Clare. See University Hall 

Corpus Christi, foundation of, 123, 129 ; 
building of, 128, 129 ; royal bene- 
factors of, 130; distinguished men 
belonging to, 130, 131 ; library given 
by Matthew Parker to, 130; description 
of old buildings of, 131 ; new library 
of, 132 ; attack on, by townspeople, 

134, 135 

Emmanuel, foundation of, 275 ; design 
of Sir W. Mildmay in founding, 275 ; 
charter of, granted by Queen Eliza- 
beth, 278 ; land and buildings of 
the Black Friars purchased for site 
of, 278 ; buildings of, erected, 279 ; 
offence given by the Puritanical ob- 
servances of, 279 ; statement drawn 
up concerning the same, 280-81 ; 
tenure of fellowships at, 281-82 ; 
revision of terms concerning, 282 ; 
masters of other colleges elected from, 
283 ; John Harvard, a graduate of, 

Gonville Hall, first foundation of, 112; 
removal of, 113 ; statutes of, 113, 114; 
old buildings of, 1 14 ; bequest by John 
Household to, 114; strong support of 
reformed opinions at, 115; second 
foundation by John Caius, 116; archi- 
tectural additions made by, 116; famous 
three gates designed by, 1 16-21 
Jesus, foundation of, 190 ; number of 
society of at first, 191 ; grammar-school 
incorporated with, 191, 193; nunnery 
of S. Rhadegund converted into build- 
ings of, 193, 194, 203, 204; "the 
chimney " at, 204 ; the chapel of, 205- 

207 ; constitution of, 207, 208 ; failure 
of plan for incorporating school with, 

208 ; Cranmer and other famous men 


at, 208. 211, 212 ; King James's saying 
regarding, 213 

King's, foundation of by Henry VI., 
144 ; confiscation of alien priories for 
endowment of, 145; provision con- 
cerning the transference of Eton 
scholars to, 146; first site of, 146; 
description of old buildings of, 146 ; 
incorporation of, in new buildings of 
university library, 116; old gateway 
of, 147 ; ampler site obtained for, 148, 
149; chapel of, 149-52; work in con- 
nection with stopped, 152 ; renewed, 
155 ; windows of, 155, 156; screen and 
rood-loft, 157 ; further buildings of, 
157, 158; Pope's bull granting inde- 
pendence of, 158; distinguished men 
belonging to, 161, 162; King James's 
saying regarding, 213 

King's Hall, first establishment of, 99, 
100 ; absorption of by Trinity, 99, 
265 ; picture of collegiate life given in 
statutes of, 100, 101 

Magdalene, Buckingham College con- 
verted into, 254 ; dissimilarity of origi- 
nal statutes of, with those of Christ's 
and S. John's, 257; Duke of Norfolk 
contributes to revenues of, 257 ; date 
of quadrangle of, 257 ; of chapel and 
library of, 257 ; chambers added to 
Monk's College for accommodation of 
scholars of, 258 ; new gateway of, 258 ; 
chapel of, " Italianised" and restored, 
258; Pepysian Library of, 258; re-. 
ference to same in Pepys' " Diary," 
25S ; famous Magdalene men, 261 

Michaelhouse, foundation of and early 
statutes, 99 ; absorption of, by Trinity, 
99, 265 

Pembroke, foundation of, 95 ; Countess 
of Pembroke, foundress of, 108, 109 ; 
charter of, 109; constitution of, no; 
building of, no, ill; remains of old 
buildings of, 112 

Peterhouse, foundation of, 79; first code 
of statutes of, 81-83; hall of, 84-86; 


Fellows' parlour at, 87 ; Perne library 
at, 91, 92 ; building of present chapel 
of, 83 ; description of same, 94 
Queens', foundation of by Margaret of 
Anjou, 162-65 ; earliest extant statutes 
of, 165 ; change of name from Queen's 
to Queens', 165 ; similarity of building 
of with that of Haddon Hall, 166 ; 
description of principal court of, 166, 
169; Tower of Erasmus at, 169, 
170; residence of Erasmus at, 169- 


S. Catherine's Hall, foundation of, 185 ; 
statutes of, 185; old buildings of, 
185, 186; rebuilding of, 186; new 
chapel of, built on site of Hobson's 
stables, 186 

S. John's, royal license to refound the 
Monastic Hospital of, 232; bequest of 
Lady Margaret lost to, through op- 
position of Court Party, 236; other 
revenues obtained for, by Bishop 
Fisher, 237 ; first Master of, 237 ; 
early and present buildings of, 237, 
238 ; " Bridge of Sighs " at, 238 ; great 
gateway of, 241 ; old and new library 
of, 241, 242, 243 ; the Masters' gallery 
at, 242 ; lines on by Wordsworth, 243, 
244 ; new chapel of, erected by Sir 
Gilbert Scott, 244. 247; famous men 
at, 247, 248 

Sidney, foundation of, 275 : desire of 
Lady Frances Sidney in the founding 
of, 276; Fuller's account of petition to 
Queen Elizabeth concerning, 285-86 ; 
granting of charter to, 286-87 ; origi- 
nal statutes of, 287 ; Papist master 
of, deposed, 288 ; buildings of, 28S- 
89 ; poem by Giles Fletcher on, 2S8 ; 
old chapel of, destroyed, 289 ; old 
Fellows' garden at, 289; Royalist and 
Republican members of, 290; Oliver 
Cromwell and Thomas Fuller mem- 
bers of, 291 ; Fuller's " Child's Prayer 
to his Mother," and prayer at close of 
his history, 293 

2 P 


Trinity Hall, origin of, 178; buildings 
of, 179, 180; hall of, 1 80; chapel of, 
180 ; beating the bounds by Fellows of, 
182 ; old library of, 183; Garden and 
"Jowett's Plot "at, 184; King James's 
saying concerning, 213; example of 
change from mediaeval to modern 
conception of learning furnished by, 
261 ; King Henry's charter of founda- 
tion, 261 ; site of, 262 
Trinity College, relation of old halls and 
hostels with present buildings of, 262- 
63 ; Dr. Thomas Neville's work in 
connection with, 266 ; building of new 
library at, 270 ; later additions to, 
271 ; two minor halls at, replaced by 
Bishop's hostel, 271 ; feud between 
Master and Fellows of, 271 ; Dr. 
Bentley's work in connection with, 272 ; 
Isaac Newton at, 273 ; other famous 
men connected with, 273 
University Hall, first foundation of, 95, 
101 ; refoundation of, as Clare House, 
101 ; statutes of, 102, 105, 106; dispute 
of with King's College, 106, 107 ; 
supposed identity of with Chaucer's 
" Soler-Halle," 107, 108; great men 
associated with, 108 
Cornelius, Austin, wood-carver, 157 
Cosin, Dr., Master of Peterhouse, building 

of College Chapel by, 93 
Cranmer, entry of, into Jesus College, 208 ; 
fellowship at resigned by, 255 ; lectures 
given by, at Magdalene, 255 
Crauden, John of, Prior of Ely, Hostel of, 

178, 179 ; portrait bust of, 178 
Cromwell, Oliver, member of Sidney Col- 
lege, 291-92 ; portrait of, by Cooper, 
292 ; Lowell's verses on, 292 

Danes, ravages of, 54, 55 

Darwin, Charles, member of Christ's Col- 
lege, 227, 228, 231 

De Hei'elico Co»ibure?ido, 138 

Devil's Dyke, British earthwork known as, 


Dokell, Andrew, founder of S. Bernard's 
Hostel, 164 

Dominicans, introduction of the new philo- 
sophy by, 60, 61 ; settlement of, on site 
of Emmanuel, 74 

Drayton, Michael, picture of Fenland by, 

Elizabeth, Queen, visit of, to Cambridge, 


Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Clare, 
University Hall refounded by, 101 

Elizabeth Wydville, Queen to Edward IV., 
second foundress of Queen's College, 165 

Ely, Lady Chapel, comparison of with 
King's, 151, 152 

Ely, student monks of, Hostel for, pro- 
vided by John Crauden, 178 ; trans- 
ference of, to Monk's College, 179 

Erasmus, residence of, at Queens', 169-72; 
" Paraclesis " of Novum Testamentum 
written while there, 175 ; appointment 
of, to Lady Margaret chair, 215 ; his 
praise of Oxford teachers, 216; sum- 
moned to Cambridge to teach Greek, 

Eton College, 143 ; connection of, with 
King's, 146 

Fenland, changes in physical features of, 
9-1 1 ; description of, in Liber Eliensis 
and other works, 1 1-13 

Fisher, John, Bishop of Rochester, founder 
of Christ's and S. John's, 189, 248 ; notice 
of Lady Margaret attracted by, 215 ; 
divinity professorship founded by, 216; 
literary revival at Cambridge promoted 
by, 218, 248 ; speech by, in Parliament, 
256 ; funeral sermon on Lady Mar- 
garet by, 234, 235 ; sympathy of, with 
new spirit of Bible criticism, 248 ; friend- 
ship of, with Erasmus, 24S ; attachment 
of, to Papal cause, 248 ; character of, 
evidenced by his codes of statutes, 249 ; 
opposition of, to divorce of Henry VIII. 
and Catharine of Arragon, 249 ; descrip- 


tion of trial and death of, by Froude and 

Mullinger, 250, 251 
Fletcher, Giles, poem by, on Sidney College, 

Franciscans, first habitation of, 57, 58 ; 

erection of house by, on site of Sidney 

College, 74 
Friars, proselytising of students by, 74, 75 
Friars of the Order of Bethlehem, 74 ; of 

the Sack, 74, 80 
Frost, Henry, Burgess, founder of Hospital 

of S. John, 232 
Fuller, Thomas, quotation from, concerning 

the Universities, 8 ; account of origin of 

Fair by, 17, 18; account of petition to 

Queen Elizabeth concerning Sidney 

College, 286-87; "Child's Prayer to 

his Mother," and prayer, at close of 

his History, by, 293 

Gilbertines, settlement of, in Trumping- 
ton Street, 74 

God's House, small foundation of latter as 
basis of Christ's, 219, 220, 221, 232 

Grantebrigge, Norman village of, 32 

Great Bridge and Small Bridge, 33 

Grey Friars, arrival of, in England, 57 

Guilds. See under Cambridge 

Guild of Corpus Christi, 122, 127, 128; in- 
corporation of, with Guild of S. Mary, 123, 
128 ; the "good Duke," alderman of, 129; 
Queen Philippa and family enrolled as 
members of, 129 ; of Thegns, 124, 125 ; 
of S. Mary, 122, 123, 125, 127; of the 
Holy Sepulchre, first religious guild, 

Harvard, John, graduate of Emmanuel, 

Havens, Theodore, of Cleves, architect, 1 14 
Henry VI., birth of, 139; description of, by 

Stubbs, 140; his love of letters, 144 ; and 

holiness, 145 
Henry VII., visit of, to Cambridge, 155 
Henry of Costessey, Commentary on the 

Psalms by, 60 

Hervey de Stanton, Bishop of Bath and 
Wells, founder of Michaelhouse, 99 

High Street, old, 34 

Hobson, Thomas, chapel built on site of 
stables belonging to, 186 

Hostels, establishment of, 65 ; various ab- 
sorbed by Trinity, 262-63 

House of Benjamin, 49, 50 

Household, John, bequest by D. Gonville, 

Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, founder 
of Peterhouse, 77, 78, 80, 81 

INGULPH, story quoted from, 7 

Jews, early establishment of, in Cam- 
bridge, 44 ; influence of, on academic 
history and material condition of town, 

4°, 49 
Josselin, fellow of Queen's, account of the 
building of Corpus Christi College by, 
128, 129 

King's Ditch, the, old artificial stream 
known as, 32, 33 

King's Scholars, 99 ; regulations concern- 
ing, 100, 101 

Kingsley, Charles, description of Fenland 
by, 12, 13 

Lancaster, Henry, Duke of, alderman 
of Corpus Christi Guild, 129, 130 

Lanes, old, still surviving, 33 

Langton, John, architect of King's Chapel, 

Latimer, Hugh, sermon preached by, at 
S. Edward, 181 

Learning, decline of, in fourteenth century, 

Lollardism in the university towns, 137, 

Lydgate, John, verses on Cambridge by, 

2, 3 

Margaret, Countess of Richmond and 
Derby, foundress of Christ's College and 



S. John's, description of, by Fuller, 214 ; 
funeral sermon on, by Bishop Fisher, 
214, 234, 235, 236; influence of Bishop 
Fisher upon, 216, 219; noble benefac- 
tions of, 220, 221 ; rooms at Christ 
Church of, 222, 223 ; characteristic story 
of, 222 ; death of, 234 ; monument to, 234 

Margaret of Anjou, description of, by 
Shakespeare, 162 ; foundress of Queen's 
College, 162, 163, 164 

Matthew Paris, description of Fenland by, 
1 1 

Mediaeval students, dress of, 83-85 

Merton, Walter de, exclusion of religious 
orders from his foundation by, 75 ; his 
Regula Mertonensis, 76, 77, 81 

Mildmay, Sir Walter, founder of Emmanuel, 
275 ; answer of, to Queen Elizabeth con- 
cerning same, 275 

Milne Street, old, 34 

Milton, John, member of Christ's, 227 ; 
description of rooms at, 227 ; mulberry 
tree planted by, 227 ; poems written by, 
as an undergraduate, 228 ; treatment of 
at College, 229 

Monasteries, depression caused by sup- 
pression of, 252 ; advantages to uni- 
versities arising from, 253, 254 ; King 
Henry's words with regard to, 253, 254 

Monastic houses, early settlements of, 74 

Monk's College, monks of Ely transferred 
to, 179 

Monk's Hall, 179 

More, Henry, member of Christ's, 230 ; 
as one of the Cambridge Platonists, 230, 

Neville, Dr. Thomas, Master of Trinity, 
his work of building in connection with, 
266, 269 

New Learning, the, 58, 59, 60, 187-89; 
encouragement of, at Cambridge, 215 : 
renown of Oxford in connection with, 
216 ; promoted at Cambridge by Bishop 
Fisher, 218; colleges of, 247 ; no regard 
shown to, in statutes of Magdalene, 257 

Newton, Sir Isaac, at Trinity, 273 ; his 
Principia written there, 273 ; statue of, 
by Roubiliac, 273 

Parker, Matthew, Archbishop, library 
of MSS. belonging to, 130, 132, 133 

Parker, Richard, translation of Skeletos 
Cantabrigiensis by, 4 

Pearson, Mr., old gateway of King's re- 
stored by, 147 

Perne, Dr. Andrew, portrait of, 87 ; be- 
quest of library to Peterhouse by, 91 ; 
account of, 91, 92; Latin verb invented 
in honour of, 91 

Philippa, Queen, member of Corpus Christi 
Guild, 129, 130 

" Poore Priestes," the, of Wycliffe, 137, 138 

Preaching, art of, neglected, 216, 217 ; 
Lady Margaret's readership founded as 
a remedy for, 217, 21S 

Puritanism in England, 275-76 

Reginald of Ely, architect of King's 
Chapel, 150 

Regula Mertonensis taken as model for 
rule of Peterhouse, 77, 81 

Richard de Baden, Chancellor of the Uni- 
versity, 101 

Richard III., gift of land by, to King's 
College, 155 

Richard of Bury, Bishop of Durham, 
application from Petrarch to, 97 ; de- 
scription of Oxford by, 98 

Rotherham, Thomas, Archbishop of York, 
college founded by, 191 ; purposes and 
provisions of same, 191, 192 

S. Augustine, list of books brought to 
England by, 52 

S. Bernard Hostel, 164 ; absorption of, in 
foundation of Queen's, 165 

S. John, Hospital of, 78, 232 ; nucleus of 
S. John's College, 80; history and down- 
fall of, 232, 234 

S. Rhadegund, history of nuns of, 193-203 ; 
conversion of nunnery of, into college 
buildings, 203, 204 



Scholars, secular endowment of, 78 ; dis- 
pute of, with regulars, 79 ; removal of, 

Scholars of Ely, 80 
School of Pythagoras, old Norman house 

known as, 27 
Schools, monastic, of Northumbria and 

the South, 52, 53 
Scott, Sir Gilbert, University library 

erected by, 146; hall of Christ's re- 
built by, 223 ; chapel of S. John's 

erected by, 244, 247 
Sidney, Lady Frances, foundress of Sidney 

College, 276, 285-S6 ; portrait of, 285 
Simon, Montagu, Bishop of Ely, first code 

of statutes for Peterhouse by, So 
Spencer, Henry, Bishop of Norwich, revolt 

of townspeople quelled by, 135 
Star Chamber, origin of name of, 46 
Sterne, Laurence, portrait of, at Jesus, 211 
Stourbridge Fair, earliest charter of, 18 ; 

comparison of, with Bunyan's " Vanity 

Fair," 19, 20 
Symons, Ralph, architect of Emmanuel 

College, 279, 28S 

Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, the 

Greek MS. of, 58 
Tower of Erasmus, 169 
Town and gown, ill feeling between, 134 ; 

riot arising from, 134, 135 
Tusser, Thomas, residence of, at Trinity 

Hall, and verses by, 177 

University, use of the term of, 62, 63 

Venn, Henry, influence of, at Jesus, 212 
Via Devana, or Roman Way, 15, 28, 32, 34 

Wai.den, Abbey of, grant of, to Sir T. 
Audley, 258 ; association of, with Buck- 
ingham College, 25S 

Wharfs or river hithes, rights in regard 

to, 33 
Wordsworth, William, lines by, on S. 

John's, 243, 244 
Wren, Dr. Matthew, Master of Peterhouse, 

92 ; chapel of, built by, 93 
Wren, Sir Christopher, architect of library 

at Trinity Hall, 270 ; tables, chairs, and 

shelves designed by, 271 


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